Vince Carter, Billups headline class for Basketball Hall of Fame

Vince Carter, Billups headline class for Basketball Hall of Fame

/ 11:52 AM April 07, 2024

Vince Carter Chauncey Billups Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Vince Carter, left, and Chauncey Billups shake hands during a news conference for The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame at the NCAA college basketball Tournament on Saturday, April 6, 2024, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)

GLENDALE, Arizona — Vince Carter wowed the basketball world with his high-flying dunks for more than two decades. Chauncey Billups was a clutch guard and Finals MVP for the Detroit Pistons.

Two icons from the 2000s era of basketball are headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Tears welled in Carter’s eyes multiple times Saturday as he discussed what the honor means to him.

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“I think that’s where the emotion comes from,” Carter said. “I have such a great appreciation for what this is and who is in the Hall of Fame. I get a chance to be a part of that. Say what you want, believe what you may, but there were some days I never thought I was on this level.”

Then he grinned.

“But they allowed me in, so I’m going to take it.”

READ: Vince Carter, Billups among 2024 Basketball Hall of Fame finalists

The 13-member class announced Saturday also includes former Lakers, Grizzlies and Warriors executive Jerry West, who has already been inducted as a player and as a member of the 1960 U.S. Olympic team. Also in the class: players Seimone Augustus, Michael Cooper, Walter Davis, Dick Barnett and Michele Timms, coaches Charles Smith, Harley Redin and Bo Ryan, broadcaster/coach Doug Collins and owner Herb Simon.

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The 2024 class will be enshrined in the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, in August.

“It’s mindblowing for me,” Carter said. “I enjoyed playing the game of basketball every day. I’m just overjoyed.”

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Carter, 47, was an eight-time All-Star and the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1999 with the Toronto Raptors. He had the longest career in NBA history, playing 22 seasons for the Raptors, Nets, Mavericks, Grizzlies, Hawks, Magic, Kings and Suns, and finished with 25,728 career points, good for 21st in league history.

He played in college at North Carolina under coach Dean Smith.

The 6-foot-6 guard’s longevity in the game was legendary and he was a useful player deep into his 40s, hanging with players less than half his age. He averaged five points over 60 games at age 43 with the Hawks in his final season.

Billups, 47, was a five-time All-Star and won an NBA championship with the Detroit Pistons in 2004. He was also the MVP of the Finals that season and is now the coach of the Portland Trail Blazers.

Billups was the third overall pick in the 1997 draft by the Boston Celtics, but his pro career was a little slow to develop. He eventually found a home in Detroit, making his first All-Star team in his ninth season.

Part of a balanced Pistons team that included Richard Hamilton, Rasheed Wallace, Tayshaun Prince and Ben Wallace, Billups averaged 21 points and 5.2 assists per game in the 2004 Finals. They beat the Lakers in five games for the title.

Ben Wallace was inducted into the Hall in 2021. Now Billups joins him.

“We all came, watched (Ben’s) induction, and we all felt like we were already in, because he was in,” Billups said. “That’s how we played. That’s who we were. I’m just the next one up.”

The 85-year-old West was inducted as a contributor. The 14-time All-Star was inducted as a player in 1980. He spent more than 20 years as an executive for the Los Angeles Lakers — helping the franchise win eight championships over a span from 1980 to 2002 — and was also the general manager for the Memphis Grizzlies and an executive with the Golden State Warriors.

Augustus, 39, was a four-time WNBA champion with the Minnesota Lynx. The 6-foot guard played in college at LSU, helping the program to three Final Fours. She’s 13th in WNBA history with 6,005 career points.

Cooper, 67, was a five-time NBA champion for the Showtime Lakers in the 1980s. Teammates with stars like Magic Johnson and James Worthy, Cooper did his best work on the defensive end of the court, making eight All-Defensive teams.

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Davis, who died in 2023, is the all-time leading scorer in Phoenix Suns history with 15,666 points. He was the 1978 Rookie of the Year and made six All-Star teams.

TAGS: Chauncey Billups, Vince Carter

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