If you made a Hall of Fame dream team, consisting of the headliners from the class of 2023, they could take on anybody.
Big men in the middle, Dirk Nowitzki and Pau Gasol, could spread the smooth parquet floor like butter. Just like the seven-footers with range have the game’s global reach.
One of them, let alone both, would be a match-up nightmare for even the most storied centre in hoops history.
If that wasn’t enough, you’d have one of the greatest shooting guards of all-time, Dwyane Wade, running rings around everyone in a flash.
Hard to handle is one hell of an understatement when you figure in Frenchmen Tony Parker dropping teardrops every which way, until there’s not a dry eye on the opposing bench.
Running the point would be no other than WNBA great Becky Hammon. Entering the Hall as a player, this Texan star could go sneaker-to-sneaker with any of the big boys. Expect her to enter the Hall of Fame twice like Bill Russell.
As last year, the Las Vegas Aces leader already won her first championship as a head coach in her first year in the W.
A coach on the floor assisting the GOAT of coaches when it comes to most wins in league history. Gregg Popovich could win a ‘chip with players people would probably call plumbers back in the day. With legends like this? It’d be a dynasty.
Coaches Gene Bess, Gary Blair, David Hixon, Gene Keady and the women’s 1976 U.S. Olympic team completed a class in one of their own for a spectacular showcase at Springfield.
With Nowitzki, Gasol and Parker, this year’s class had a European style, showing how much the game has stepped and dribbled across international waters.
There really was a Texan theme, too, when it came to those enshrined this year. Especially on the wild west side, where Spurs click on sneakers. Not to discount Dirk and Dallas.
Coach Pop, Parker, Hammon. Even Pau spent significant seasons in San Antonio as a Spur. That’s when he wasn’t duelling with them, alongside the greatest rival to the Alamo.
“I wouldn’t be here without you, brother,” Gasol gracefully said in tribute to his teammate and friend Kobe Bryant. “I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us. I miss you and love you.”
Number 16 following his purple and gold jersey retirement with a trip down the hall that certifies he’s a big Laker legend like Mikan, Wilt, Kareem and Shaq before him and AD on the way next.
Not to mention one of the greatest in the globe. Internationally known, the only one better at Pau Gasol’s size and position was number 41.
Dirk Nowitzki overcame so much doubt and nasty hate to be crowned a champion in the game he always loved like the city he never left. Duelling with Dwayne, who showed Miami was Wade’s County and world. Before Shaq. Before The King and the big-three.
How about the San Antonio one? Tony Parker completed one organically with fellow Hall members Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobilil. Not to forget the coaches behind them.
Hammon, the most amazing assistant and Summer League victorious head coach. Not here in the Hall for that (yet), but for all Becky did in the WNBA as a player. All whilst she’s still drawing up her W legacy on the sidelines as we speak. She couldn’t even get her orange jacket with everyone else on the first day, as she had a game to win.
Then there’s big Pop. Not only one of the greatest coaches the game will ever see, but also one of the most hilarious.
He had the best moment of the night when he playfully ushered Ahmad Rashad off the stage. But wait, there’s more. He’s not done.
The Spurs and Team USA coach has given us the Twin Towers and the big-three, but now he has something even taller on his hands with the upcoming Wemby era.
Expect the win column to grow in size.
Just like the legendary Hall that keeps getting longer in legacy. No matter how far you drive this lane though, and wherever it takes you, one thing remains the same.
The love for the heart and soul of this game.