NBA: Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade headline finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame
Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Pau Gasol — three of the greatest international players in NBA history — join Dwyane Wade as headliners of the 12 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday.
Nowitzki of Germany was a 14-time NBA All-Star, won the 2006-07 Most Valuable Player Award and led the Dallas Mavericks to the 2011 title.
Gasol of Spain was a six-time All-Star, a two-time champion with the Los Angeles Lakers and the 2002 Rookie of the Year. Parker, born in Belgium and raised in France, was a six-time All-Star, a four-time champion with the San Antonio Spurs and the 2007 Finals MVP.
Wade was a 13-time All-Star, a three-time champion and the 2006 Finals MVP.
The quartet are four of 11 first-time nominees and 12 total announced during All-Star weekend. The Class of 2023 will be announced April 1 in Houston during the NCAA Men’s Final Four. Potential enshrines from the Direct Elect committees might be recognized.
The Class of 2023 will be enshrined on Aug. 11-12 in Springfield, Mass.
Finalists from the North American committee also include Parker’s coach with the Spurs, Gregg Popovich, who became the NBA’s all-time winningest coach in March 2022 — including five league championships (1999, 2003, 2005, 2007, 2014).
Popovich’s coaching tenure (1996-present) also has included Becky Hammon, who from 2014-21 served as a Spurs assistant, becoming the first full-time female coach in any of the four major professional sports. Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star, is a finalist for her achievements as a player.
Other Women’s Committee finalists are player Jennifer Azzi (1990 Naismith Player of the Year and national champion at Stanford) and coaches Gary Blair (852 wins; 2011 national champion at Texas A&M) and Marian Washington (school-record 560 wins at Kansas; Black pioneer as a player and coach in college and international basketball).
Other North American Committee finalists are coaches Gene Bess, Gene Keady and David Hixon. Bess, who coached at Three Rivers Community College in Poplar Bluff, Mo., from 1971-2020, is the all-time winningest college coach across all levels (1,300 victories). Keady, best known for his tenure at Purdue, was the seven-time Big Ten Coach of the Year; and Hixon compiled 826 wins at Amherst College (1977-2020) while a two-time Division III national champion and coach of the year.
“Eleven first-time nominees make up this historic group of Class of 2023 finalists,” Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a news release. “It is an incredible honor to be named a Finalist for the Hall of Fame, and their recognition as a Finalist is evidence of the legendary accomplishments and dominance shown throughout their careers. The Class of 2023 will be remembered as one of the most distinguished classes the Hall of Fame will ever see, and we are extremely excited for this unparalleled collection of talent and achievement to be one step closer to Springfield.”