Basketball Hall of Fame: Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade among 2023 finalists

As expected, Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich and Dwyane Wade were among the finalists named for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2023, the NBA announced Friday. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Pau Gasol joined Nowitzki, Popovich and Wade as finalists after a vote by the hall’s North American committee. Becky Hammon and Jennifer Azzi highlight the hall’s finalists for the women’s committee.
  • They all must receive 18 out of 24 honors committee votes to enter the Class of 2023, and the additions will be announced during the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
  • ESPN and CBS Sports’ Marc Spears and Holly Rowe have been respectfully named winners of the 2023 Curt Gowdy Media Awards in the Print, Electronic and Transformative categories.
  • Tom Konchalski was honored as the winner of the 2023 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.

What else you should know

Gene Bess, David Hixon, Gene Keady and Tony Parker join the hall’s North American Committee. Marian Washington and Gary Blair join Hammon and Azzi to round out the Hall’s women’s committee. The anchoring is scheduled for August 11 at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.

The case for every finalist

Wade and Gasol, who attended the announcement at Vivint Arena in Utah, as well as Nowitzki, Popovich and Parker vie for inclusion on their first attempts.

  • Wade is a 13-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion who was a 2006 Finals MVP, while Gasol is a six-time All-Star, 2002 Rookie of the Year and a two-time champion.
  • Popovich, who still coaches the Spurs, has the most wins in NBA history (1,358) and led the US to Olympic gold in 2021.
  • Parker was a six-time All-Star, four-time champion, and 2007 finals MVP under Popovich in San Antonio.
  • Nowitzki won a title, made 14 All-Star Games, and was the 2007 league MVP.
  • Bess is the most successful college coach of all time in history, at any level, with 1,300 wins in 50 years at Three Rivers Community College in Popular Bluff, Mo.
  • Hixon trained at Amherst College in Div. III for 42 years and was the third collegiate coach in history to have 800+ wins.
  • Keady coached at Purdue for 27 years and before that, Western Kentucky was national coach of the year six times and won 550 games. – Wardon

Women’s Committee Finalists

Azzi was the varsity player of the year and led Stanford to a title in 1990. She founded the ABL, played five WNBA seasons, and won a gold medal with Team USA in 1996.

Blair won 852 games in 37 seasons at Stephen F. Austin, Arkansas and Texas A&M, where he won the 2011 national title.

A six-time WNBA All-Star, Hammon trained under Popovich at the Spurs and became the first rookie coach in WNBA history to lead a team to a championship, which she did last season with the Las Vegas Aces. She was named a member of each All-WNBA Jubilee Team.

Washington coached the Kansas women’s team for 31 years and holds the school record with 560 wins. She was one of the first two black women to compete internationally (1971 World Cup) and was an assistant on the 1996 US women’s gold-winning team. – Wardon

What you say

Hall of Fame President Jerry Colangelo said, “I think that’s a loaded class.”

“I think this is unique in that we have a lot of first-time visitors,” Colangelo said. “It’s unusual when someone makes it on the first ballot. This is unique because there could be four or five first-time visitors.”

Wade, who is now a minority owner of the Utah Jazz, this weekend’s All-Star host, said, “A young Dwyane Wade never thought this moment would be here.”

“I’ve always been a dreamer,” Wade said. “But I’d be lying to you if I said I don’t want to give up that dream many, many times.”

Gasol said he wanted fans to remember him as “a player who played right, played hard, fought, played to win”.

“A player who made the right decision(s) on the pitch and tried to make my teammates better,” said Gasol. “It wasn’t about scoring points for me, it was about making the right play.” – Wardon

required reading

(Photo: Wendell Cruz / USA Today) Basketball Hall of Fame: Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade among 2023 finalists

Russell Falcon

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