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February 18, 2017
New Orleans, Louisiana
RICK KAMLA: Hello again, basketball fans. Welcome to Smoothie King Center. Want to send a shout-out to everyone watching on NBA TV, NBA.com and the NBA app. We welcome you all to All-Star weekend 2017 in the awesome city of New Orleans. It is a great honor for me to be here today at this event.
The Hall of Fame is a wonderful museum. We encourage you all to head up there at some point and check it out. The center for the living history of basketball, the game we all love.
During today's historic event, we will learn important and breaking news. We will learn the names of the Hall of Fame annual award winners to be recognized at this year's enshrinement in September. And finally, we will reveal the names of the finalists for this year's Hall of Fame class, the Class of 2017.
What we will not announce today are the Class of 2017 members from the Direct Elect committees. Those committees include the early African-American pioneers, veterans, international and contributors committees. The class members chosen by those committees will be introduced with the full class at the Final Four in Phoenix. There are many noteworthy nominees for those committees, including Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, David Falk, Marv Albert, Mannie Jackson, Johnny Most, George McGinnis, Tom Jernstedt and many more.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has a huge responsibility to represent the entire game of basketball, and these names certainly reflect that effort. A complete list of nominees for these categories are available online at hoophall.com.
Before I begin today's program, I want to introduce this remarkable group of people we have on stage here today. We are honored to be joined by these outstanding members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame family.
First, from the Hall of Fame Class of 2004, Jerry Colangelo. From the Class of 1987, Rick Barry. From the Class of 1982, Willis Reed. From the Class of 2006, Dominique Wilkins. From the Class of 1996, Nancy Lieberman. From the Class of 2015, Spencer Haywood. Also joining us today, the top scorer in the history of basketball. This man almost put up 50,000 points -- 49,737 to be exact. From the Class of 2013, Oscar Schmidt. And from the Class of 1996, the Iceman, George Gervin.
Before we begin today's program, I want to call up Jerry Colangelo here, the chairman, and ask him a couple of questions. Jerry, first of all, pleasure to be here once again with you. We like talking about updates to the Hall of Fame, and I'm sure there are a couple of updates you can give us here today.
JERRY COLANGELO: Basically, we have a major campaign going on right now, a capital campaign, and we're redoing the Hall of Fame in so many ways to update it, to make it by far the nicest Hall of Fame in sports. So that's a big project.
Of course, this is a very exciting day. It always is, when we talk about the candidates to go into the Hall of Fame, and I'm looking forward to it.
RICK KAMLA: And these beautiful people up here and all the other Hall of Famers that you're going to see throughout the week, and I know you love reuniting with them every year at All-Star weekend.
JERRY COLANGELO: What usually happens is your life passes before you as you say hello to Willis or George Gervin or whatever it might be because relationships go back, not 10 years or 20 or 30, but a long time.
RICK KAMLA: One of the greatest individuals in the history of basketball, ladies and gentlemen, Jerry Colangelo. Jerry, thank you.
Okay. So now on to today's exciting news. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame annually gives its Curt Gowdy Media Award to two deserving members of the media, one for work in print media and one in electronic media. The winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award for print is a New York City native who began his journalism career back in 1970 as a reporter and sports editor for the Staten Island Advance. He moved on to the New York Post where he began his NBA legacy as a beat reporter for the New York Knicks. In 1983, he went to the New York Daily News, continuing his reputation for accurate sports coverage and insightful columns. Later, in 1991, he joined The New York Times as its national basketball columnist. He's a two-time winner of the AP Sports Editor Award and was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. A proud women's sports advocate, he has covered 19 of the last 20 women's NCAA Final Fours. And just last September, he decided to call it a career after 25 years at The Times" He is the 2017 winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award for print, Harvey Araton.
Known for his remarkable clothing choices and love of entertainment and, most importantly, his tireless dedication to his craft, this broadcasting icon defined the world of sideline reporting for a generation of viewers. In 1981, his broadcast journey took him to Turner, where he found his lifelong home. Working first on CNN, where he co-anchored the CNN Sports Tonight show, he was awarded a Cable Ace Award in 1985. Showcasing his talents across a panorama of shows and sports, including the Goodwill Games, the FIFA World Cup and the NFL. He established a unique presence as a sideline reporter for the NBA on TNT. While publicly battling acute myeloid leukemia, he became a national inspiration through his continued optimism and determination against all odds. Last summer he was awarded the Jimmy V Perseverance Award and was inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame in December. We miss him to this day. Please welcome the 2017 Curt Gowdy Award winner for electronic media, the one and only Craig Sager.
We can applaud all day for Craig, certainly. We talk a lot in sports about the GOAT. He's the GOAT. He's the greatest of all time. The greatest sideline reporter there will ever be, and I don't think anybody will match what Craig brought to the sidelines. He never flinched. You recall the time when Kevin Garnett told him on Valentine's Day he was going to burn his pink and red suit. Never flinched. He never flinched when Gregg Popovich took his probably $200 pocket square and blew his nose in it.
Another thing I loved about Craig Sager was he was tough and clutch. Clutch in that he always asked the right question at the right moment in the right way. Tough in terms of working until the day he passed. We miss him dearly. I'd like to invite Stacy Sager, his lovely wife, up here on stage.
Stacy, how would Craig be receiving this award right now? What would be going through his mind right now?
STACY SAGER: I'll be honest, to have Craig's career and legacy preserved with the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame, it is a tremendous honor. You know Craig. He would be grateful but humble to receive such a prestigious award. I can't even imagine. I just wish he would be here for this moment of excitement. But with his passion and influence and his inspiration, he is with us always with the NBA family.
RICK KAMLA: Stacy, your strength is incredible. God bless you and your family.
STACY SAGER: Thank you.
RICK KAMLA: Stacy Sager, ladies and gentlemen.
I've just been notified we have Gary Payton in the house. GP! He's right there. We have another Hall of Famer in the house. Got that million-dollar smile, GP We love it. We love it.
We are now proud to announce the winners of the 2017 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, the single greatest honor presented by the Hall of Fame outside of enshrinement. You might have noticed I have an "S" on that word. That's right, winners. For the first time in its history, the Hall will be awarding two lifetime achievement awards in the same year.
Our first winner has a highly successful scholastic and collegiate coach at Wooster Academy and later at University of Connecticut. Among the many he has influenced were former assistants, Hall of Famer Dave Gavitt and national champion Jim Valvano. He's traveled throughout the globe as a coach and basketball clinician, including as an assistant coach on the 1980 U.S. men's Olympic basketball team. Over his 48 years on the UConn athletic staff, he played a vital role in the institution's ascension to a national basketball power, earning 15 NCAA championships in men's and women's basketball over the past 22 years. Incredible.
Join me in recognizing the first recipient of the 2017 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, from the University of Connecticut, Coach Donald "Dee" Rowe.
The second recipient of the 2017 Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award is an individual who has dedicated an extraordinary life of service and achievement for NBA coaches. The NBA family and the NBA Coaches Association mourn the loss of a pioneer and a trusted friend. Michael Goldberg, for nearly four decades, guided the NBCA, helping to raise the profile of coaches both domestically and internationally. He fought for the betterment of NBA coaches with intensity and compassion, but will be remembered for humility, kindness and that signature bow tie. Last month in his honor, the National Basketball Coaches Association announced it will name its own Coach of the Year award after its former trusted leader.
Join me in recognizing the second winner of the 2017 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, Michael Goldberg.
I would like to invite to the stage right now New Orleans Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry, also a board member with the National Basketball Coaches Association, for a word or two about the late great Michael Goldberg.
Alvin, good morning. Sorry for your loss. Sorry for the loss in the coaching community. What was Michael Goldberg's most profound impact on the coaching community?
ALVIN GENTRY: I think it just bridged the gap between the ownership and coaches in everything he did. So many things involving pension and just -- you know, he was just such a great guy.
RICK KAMLA: What will you miss most about Michael Goldberg?
ALVIN GENTRY: I think what I'll miss most is that, when you're struggling as a coach and your team is not doing well, that's when he picks up the phone to call you, and he wanted to make everything okay. So just -- words can't explain. He was so important to every coach, head coach, assistant coach, everybody, that's involved with basketball.
RICK KAMLA: Coach, thank you so much for your time. Enjoy All-Star weekend. Alvin Gentry, ladies and gentlemen.
And one more round of applause. Congratulations to our winners. We've got a lot more to come. But give these people we've recognized a big round of applause. (Applause).
There are many people around the world eager to learn who has been chosen as today's finalists, the critical next step to being named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Without further delay, here are the names for the 14 finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2017 from the North American and Women's Committees.
This finalist became a full-time NBA ref in 1972, and for 28 seasons ran the hardwood floors, reffing 2,200 games plus, including 252 playoff games and 35 Finals games. He would later mentor many who would go on to successful NBA officiating careers. Selected as a finalist from the North American Committee as a referee, Hugh Evans.
This Chicago native had a prolific 14-year career with five NBA teams. Five-time NBA All-Star and Olympic gold medalist, but he's best known for his devastating crossover dribble that is emulated by many in today's game. Your reverse layup was sick as well. He teamed with Run TMC Warriors teammates, Hall of Famers Chris Mullin and Mitch Richmond, to form one of the most exciting, fast-breaking teams in the history of ball. Selected as a finalist from the North American Committee as a player, Tim Hardaway.
This next gentleman dedicated his life to the world of high school basketball in Texas. He began coaching in 1958 during the segregation era at Fort Worth at the I.M. Terrell School, where he coached for 16 years. At the end of segregation, he began coaching at Fort Worth Dunbar High School until his retirement in 2005. His teams reached the state championships 30 consecutive times, winning five state titles during that run. He would end his career with 1,333 wins, the most ever by a boys high school basketball coach. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Robert Hughes.
This next finalist made a name for herself at the University of Connecticut, becoming one of the first role models in women's basketball. She led undefeated UConn to the 1995 national championship, earning national Player of the Year honors along the way. She also played in the very first season of the WNBA, with the New York Liberty, quickly becoming one of the league's most popular players. She was also a member of the U.S. women's national team that won gold at the 1996 Summer Olympics. In 2010, she was inducted to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Throughout her post-playing days, she has continued to be an ambassador for the game of basketball as an analyst for ESPN. Named as a finalist as a contributor, Rebecca Lobo.
This gentleman has been coaching basketball for 58 years, wow. Making his first college stop at Stony Brook back in 1969. That was followed by a brief stint at the University of Pennsylvania as an assistant under Hall of Famer Chuck Daly. In 1973, he took over as the head coach of Villanova University, where he helped turn around a mediocre program. Under his 19-year watch, the Wildcats posted 14 winning seasons, 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. But his most memorable season was 1985, when Villanova pulled up one of the greatest upsets in tournament history, knocking off top-seeded Georgetown in the title game. With stints at UNLV, Cleveland State and, get this, currently at Division II Northwood, now Keiser University, he posted his 800th career victory last December at the ripe young age of 82. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Rollie Massimino.
This Florida native was named USA Today's High School Basketball Player of the Year in 1997. That same year, he was drafted ninth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the first round. During his 15-year NBA career, most notably with the Raptors, Magic and Rockets, he twice led the league in scoring, was a two-time All-NBA First Team member and played in seven All-Star Games. In one remarkable stretch, he averaged at least 24 points per game in seven consecutive seasons. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Tracy McGrady.
She began her coaching career at Archbishop Carroll High School, and following stops as an assistant at St. Joseph's and five seasons as the head coach at Lehigh, she became the third coach of the Notre Dame women's basketball team in 1987, a position she still holds today. Her remarkable career at Notre Dame has included 14 trips to the Sweet 16, seven trips to the Final Four, including five championship games and a national title back in 2001. She has been twice named the AP and Naismith college Coach of the Year. Her 800 career victories are impressive, but even more impressive, her players have a perfect 100 percent graduation rate for the past nine years. Selected as a finalist from the Women's Committee as a coach, Muffet McGraw.
Our next honoree's career in basketball can be defined by one word on every level -- excellence. She was an outstanding player at Louisiana Tech, leading her team to two national championships under Hall of Fame Coach Leon Barmore. As head coach of the Baylor Lady Bears, she has never had a losing season. She's led the Lady Bears to 16 postseason appearances, three Final Fours and two national championships. The latest coming in 2012, when Baylor soared to an unprecedented 40-0 record. She is the first person in history to win a national championship as a player, assistant and head coach, wow. Selected as a finalist by the Women's Committee as a coach, Kim Mulkey.
He was a major contributor to the resurrection of the University of Arkansas basketball program, helping lead the Razorbacks to the NCAA Final Four in 1978. The following year he was drafted fifth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks and would go on to become an impact player for the next decade. One of the fiercest defenders in the game, he took home back-to-back NBA Defensive Player of the Year awards and was selected four times to the NBA All-Defensive First Team. He was also a potent offensive threat, averaging 20 points per game in four consecutive seasons. A fan favorite in Milwaukee, he is now named a finalist as a player, Sidney Moncrief.
This gentleman has literally spent his life around the game of basketball. Following in the footsteps of his father, his coaching career has spanned over 40 years from high school to a top program at the University of Wisconsin. He led his University of Wisconsin-Platteville Pioneers to four Division III national championships. As University of Wisconsin head coach from 2001 to 2015, he was named the Big Ten Coach of the Year four times, leading his team to back-to-back Final Four appearances in 2014 and 2015. Named as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Bo Ryan.
Our next finalist began his college head coaching career with brief stints at Oral Roberts, Tulsa and Illinois, before moving on to Kansas in 2003. He quickly molded the Jayhawks' program into one of the most successful in NCAA history. During his 13 seasons, his teams have never won fewer than 23 games. During one stretch in Kansas, his teams compiled 197 wins against just 27 losses, the best six-year record for any men's coach in D-I history. His team submitted to two Final Fours, and in 2008, the Kansas Jayhawks won their first NCAA title in 20 years. He's a two-time National Coach of the Year and was awarded the prestigious Mannie Jackson Basketball's Human Spirit Award by the Hall of Fame for his charity work off the court. Named as a finalist from the North American Committee as a coach, Bill Self.
He was an All-American forward at Michigan and a five-time NBA All-Star player with the Houston Rockets. Upon retiring, he became a Rockets assistant coach and eventually the head coach, establishing a 33-year relationship with the franchise. He is the first head coach to take a team from the lottery to a division title in his first full season. He led his team to seven consecutive playoff appearances and back-to-back NBA championships. During his second title run, his Rockets became the first team in league history to defeat the four teams with the best regular-season records, proving that his Rockets indeed had the heart of a champion. After retiring from the NBA, he coached the 2000 U.S. men's basketball team to a perfect record and gold in Sydney, Australia. Named as a 2017 finalist as a coach, Rudy Tomjanovich.
In one of the great hidden stories in basketball history, from a tiny conservative school in west Texas, long before the birth of NCAA women's basketball, a series of teams pulled together by an innovative coach built a record unsurpassed in basketball history. The Flying Queens, under the tutelage of Coach Harley Redin, a retired World War II bomber pilot, won 131 consecutive games in a streak running from '53 to '58. They would also win four straight national AAU championships. Selected as a finalist by the Women's Committee as a team, the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens.
After a stellar two-year collegiate career at the University of Michigan, he was selected by the Orlando Magic with the first pick in the 1993 NBA Draft. He was later traded to the Golden State Warriors, where he earned NBA Rookie of the Year honors. He would go on to play 17 seasons in the NBA. Over his outstanding career, he averaged over 20 points and just under 10 boards. Helping lead the Kings to relevance and culminating in 2001 when the Sacramento Kings posted the NBA's best record. He is a former league leader in rebounding and a five-time NBA All-Star. Named as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Chris Webber.
And now, ladies and gentlemen, let's bring up some of the finalists who are here with us today. Tracy McGrady, Chris Webber and Sidney Moncrief. T-Mac, congratulations on being named a finalist. Tracy, you're on the doorstep of the Hall. How does that feel?
TRACY McGRADY: I still can't believe I'm here. This is not even a dream come true. I didn't know what the Hall was when I was younger. But I'm nervous, I'm excited and I'm nervous to see what happens.
RICK KAMLA: Good luck, Tracy. Hopefully you get in.
TRACY McGRADY: Thank you very much.
RICK KAMLA: C-Webb, let's bring you up here. Big round of applause for T-Mac. That guy got buckets.
C-Webb, we're happy for you. Congratulations on being named a finalist. I want to know what you're most proud of. All those years with 20, 10 and 5. You think of Bird, Dr. J, KG, you, and you think of 20, 10 and 5. Most proud about that or being a culture changer?
CHRIS WEBBER: That's a great question. Wow, I don't know what I'm most proud of. I'm proud to be in a room with all these great individuals and people I grew up watching my whole life. It's just a surreal moment. I can't answer that question. I'm just proud to sit here and be here right now.
RICK KAMLA: You've got a little bit of time to think about that question, perhaps before an enshrinement ceremony. C-Webb, congrats on being a finalist.
CHRIS WEBBER: Thank you.
RICK KAMLA: C-Webb, ladies and gentlemen. Sidney, how are you, sir? Congratulations on being named a finalist. We talk a lot about two-way players in today's game -- Kawhi Leonard, Jimmy Butler, LeBron James, guys like that. You were a forerunner back in the day. How much pride did you take in being a two-way player?
SIDNEY MONCRIEF: I'm not really sure. I grew up under Eddie Sutton where you had to play defense.
RICK KAMLA: Or you didn't play.
SIDNEY MONCRIEF: Or you didn't play. Then I played for Don Nelson, where you had to play offense or you didn't play. So I guess I had some really good teachers, coaches along the way, and I really think it's important that players learn to play not only offense but defense. To be a two-way player is really something unique and something I'm very proud of.
RICK KAMLA: Sidney, congratulations on being a finalist. Good luck. Sidney Moncrief, ladies and gentlemen.
Okay. We have come to the end of the program here. I want to thank everybody in attendance. I want to thank the beautiful Hall of Famers up here on stage with us today. And a reminder that everybody will be available to the media immediately following this event. Let's give a big round of applause for all of the 2017 finalists. Congratulations to all of you and good luck. Being named as a finalist to the Hall of Fame by itself is a real honor.
Mark these important dates. The Class of 2017 will be introduced at NCAA Final Four weekend in Phoenix. Enshrinement 2017 will take place September 8th in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. I hope to see everybody there.
I would now like to invite John Doleva, the President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, to join us on stage for a photo with these remarkable guests. Thanks to everyone around the world for watching on NBA TV, NBA.com and the NBA app. Enjoy All-Star weekend.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports