THE Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the finalists for the Class of 2023 on Friday, and it’s a stellar group that includes NBA stars Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki as well as the Las Vegas head coach (and member of the 25th anniversary team of the WNBA) Becky Hammon.
Class of 2023 finalists
- San Antonio Spurs HC Gregg Popovich
- San Antonio Spurs PG Tony Parker
- Dallas Mavericks PF Dirk Nowitzki
- Memphis Grizzlies and Los Angeles Lakers F/C Pau Gasol
- Purdue men’s basketball head coach Gene Keady
- David Hixon, head coach of the Amherst College men’s basketball team
- Olympic Gold Medalist and Collegiate National Champion, PG Jennifer Azzi
- Gary Blair, Texas A&M Women’s Basketball Head Coach
- Becky Hammon, six-time WNBA All-Star PG and head coach of the Las Vegas Aces
- Marian Washington, head coach of the Kansas women’s basketball team
- Three Rivers Community College men’s basketball head coach Gene Bess (most winning coach in college basketball history)
The Class of 2023 members will be announced on April 1 in Houston, home of this year’s NCAA Men’s Division I Basketball Final Four. The induction ceremony will take place on August 12 at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.
There are some interesting potential combinations of players and coaches that can land in the Hall at the same time.
It should be noted that San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich could end up in Springfield alongside his former star point guard Tony Parker and longtime assistant head coach Becky Hammon.
Dwyane Wade and Dirk Nowitzki, who faced each other twice in the NBA Finals and retired the same year, are expected to enter the Hall on the first try.
Wade is a 13-time All-Star and three-time NBA champion who also won Olympic gold in Beijing in 2008 with Team USA.
Nowitzki played two decades for the Dallas Mavericks, leading the team to its only NBA title in 2011. He also made 14 All-Star Games.
Hammon has enjoyed enormous success as a player and a coach. She was a six-time WNBA All-Star and made the All-WNBA First Team twice (2007, 2009). Additionally, Hammon is coming off the WNBA crown in his first year as a head coach with the Las Vegas Aces.
Elsewhere, Jennifer Azzi played a vital role in the 1996 USA women’s basketball team that crushed all opponents en route to Olympic gold in Atlanta. She also led Stanford to the NCAA Division I women’s basketball title in 1990.
And then, of course, there’s Popovich and Parker. Popovich’s 1,358 lifetime wins are No. 1 in NBA history, and he also sports a whopping .645 winning percentage. He won five NBA titles, four of them with Parker in the lead. The six-time All-Star played 18 NBA seasons and made the All-NBA Second Team three times.
In sum, this is a loaded group of Hall of Fame finalists filled with star power. Wade and Nowitzki are leading the way with their terrific resumes, but it should be one of the best classes in recent memory when the final lineup is revealed.