Nash, Kidd highlight 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame class
LOS ANGELES –The 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame class includes a sharp-shooting point guard from Canada and two NBA stars who shared both the rookie-of-the year award and the inductee podium at Friday’s ceremony.
Steve Nash went from being a unscouted high school phenom from the basketball backwoods of Victoria, British Columbia to an eight-time all star, while Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were co-rookies of the year in 1994-95 before going on to play a combined 37 seasons in the NBA.
The trio were part of an impressive list of 13 inductees to the 2018 Naismith Memorial National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
“I was never supposed to be here,” Nash, who looks like he can still play, said as he began his acceptance speech.
The same could likely be said for the other inductees which included former players Maurice Cheeks, Dino Radja and Charlie Scott and ex-college coach Lefty Driesell.
This inductee list was heavy on point guards as Nash, and Americans Allen and Kidd, all had record setting careers.
The six-foot-three Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-05 and 2005-06 and led the league five times in assists.
His 18-year-career included playing in eight all-star games and finishing sixth on the all-time assist list.
“The secret is to build the resolve and spirit to enjoy the plateau. Never stop striving to reach your goals,” Nash said.
Nash was born in Johannesburg, South Africa, before the family moved to Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast. He switched schools halfway through high school but failed to attract the attention of American college scouts, sending his demo tape off to 30 schools but getting no takers.
He finally landed one scholarship offer from Santa Clara University in California and the unlikely journey was underway.
“Nobody really liked what they saw on those tapes,” Nash said. “But what they couldn’t see on the tapes was the relentless obsession and work ethic that would not diminish in 20 plus years.”
He finished with averages of 51.8 percent shooting from the field, including an NBA record 90.4 percent from the free-throw line.
His influence on Canadian basketball cannot be overstated, says hockey icon Wayne Gretzky.
“I think he was a huge influence on all these kids,” Gretzky said in a video tribute to Nash.
“Coast to coast, Vancouver to Newfoundland, he gave them the opening and ability to believe they could play in the NBA.”
Nash thanked his Olympic coach Jay Triano, who is now a coach with the Charlotte Hornets.
“The greatest experience of my career was playing in the Olympics Games for Canada,” Nash said.
‘Do it every day’
My coach was Jay Triano. Jay was a hero to me and taught me to love the game. He always said ‘shooting is like beathing, you got to do it every day to live.'”
The 10-time all-star Kidd climbed to number two all-time in assists during his 19-year playing career that included winning the 2011 NBA title with the Dallas Mavericks.
The point guard was co-rookie of the year with Hill and is No. 2 on the all-time steals list.
Seven-time all-star Hill made the NBA first all-star team in 1996-97. He won back-to-back US college national titles at Duke University in 1991 and 1992.
Allen, a 10-time all star, helped the Boston Celtics win a championship in 2008 and the Miami Heat win a title in 2013.
He made more three-point shots (2,973) than anyone in history.
“I don’t believe in talent,” Allen said. “I am here because I worked hard my whole life.
“So for kids aspiring to be like one of us, put the work in.
“What an amazing class I am part of. I am humbled and honored to sit here and be part of class of 2018.”