Dirk, Wade, Pop Lead HOF 2023 ‘Charged’ Finalists

SALT LAKE CITY — Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol and Gregg Popovich headline the list of finalists for the 2023 class of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, it was announced Friday as part of the National Basketball Association’s All-Star Weekend. nba.

“I love the class,” Hall of Fame president Jerry Colangelo said at a news conference. “I think this is a loaded class… I think this is unique in that we have a lot of first-timers and it’s unusual when someone makes it on the first ballot. But this one is going to be one of a kind.” Because there could be four or five rookies. So I’m very excited about that.”

Wade won three championships with the Miami Heat and was the 2006 NBA Finals MVP, a 13-time All-Star and a 2008 USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist.

Nowitzki is No. 6 on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 31,550 points, was named league MVP in 2007 and won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011, when he was named Finals MVP.

Gasol won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant and was a six-time All-Star and two-time Olympic silver medalist for Spain.

Popovich is the NBA’s all-time leader in wins as a coach and guided the San Antonio Spurs to five championships.

Other finalist players included former Spurs point guard and 2007 Finals MVP Tony Parker; Becky Hammon, a six-time All-Star in her WNBA career; and Jennifer Azzi, Stanford College National Champion, 1996 USA Basketball Olympic gold medalist, and five-year WNBA veteran.

Other coaching finalists included Purdue men’s basketball all-time wins leader Gene Keady; Marian Washington, who racked up 560 wins in 31 years as the head coach of the University of Kansas women’s team; Gary Blair, who led Texas A&M to the women’s championship in 2011; Gene Bess, who won 1,300 games and two national championships with Three Rivers Community College; and David Hixon, who won 826 games in 42 years at Amherst College.

Members of the August ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts will be announced as part of the NCAA Final Four festivities in Houston in April.

Induction is determined by a vote by a 24-member honor committee. A finalist must receive a minimum of 18 votes from the committee to gain entry to the Hall.

“A young Dwyane Wade never thought this moment would be here,” Wade, a stake owner in the NBA All-Star host team the Utah Jazz, said after the finalists were announced. “Sometimes when you’re young and you have a dream, a lot of people don’t believe in your dream because it seems so far-fetched. But I’ve always been a dreamer.”

Gasol was also present at the press conference and sat in the front row next to Wade as NBA TV’s Matt Winer introduced the event.

“As Kobe said at one point, ‘It’s really about the journey,'” Gasol said. “This type of recognition, which is an incredible honor, comes when you do things very, very well for a long time. And when you love what you do.”

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