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February 18, 2018
Los Angeles, California
JARED GREENBERG: Good morning. As we come to you live from Los Angeles, host city for All-Star 2018. Want to thank all of you for joining us here in the room and of course all of you from around the world on NBA TV, NBA.com and the NBA App. It is really, truly a great honor for me to host today's event.
The Hall of Fame, as most of you hopefully know by now, is an incredible museum and a center for the living history of the game we love, basketball. Today we're going to break some news right here in this very room. In doing so, we're going to add another chapter to the history of our game. Over the next 30 minutes we will learn the names of the Hall of Fame annual award winners who will be recognized at this year's enshrinement ceremony in September. Then we will reveal the names of the finalists for this year's Hall of Fame class, the Class of 2018.
However, let me tell you about some things that we're not going to do this morning. We are not going to announce the Class of 2018 from the Direct Elect Committees, which includes the Early African-American Pioneers, Veterans, International and Contributors Committee. The class members chosen by those committees will be introduced with the full class at the NCAA Final Four coming up in San Antonio.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has a huge responsibility representing the entire game of basketball, and these nominees clearly reflect that effort. A complete list of nominees of these four categories is available online and you can check it out by visiting hoophall.com.
Before we get to this year's finalists, I'd like to take a moment to recognize the remarkable group of people on the stage. We are honored to be joined by these outstanding members of the huge Hall of Fame family. Like to tell you who is here.
First, from the Hall of Fame Class of 2004, Jerry Colangelo; from the Class of 1987, Rick Barry; from the Class of 1995, the all-time scoring champion in the NBA, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; from the Class of 1996, Nancy Lieberman; from the Class of 2017, Mannie Jackson; from the Class of 2000, Bob McAdoo; from the Class of 1996, "The Ice Man," George Gervin; from the Class of 2015, Lisa Leslie; from the Class of 2006, Dominique Wilkins; from the Class of 2015, Spencer Haywood; and from the Class of 2003, "Big Game," James Worthy.
I'd like to call up a couple of our legends. First, let's begin with Jerry Colangelo, the chairman. I'd also like to invite to the stage here Lisa Leslie and James Worthy.
Chairman Colangelo, let's start with you. As we've been talking about the last couple of years, there are some much-anticipated, big-time changes coming to the actual museum itself. How is this going to enhance the fan experience in Springfield?
JERRY COLANGELO: Well, in every way you can possibly imagine. From a technological standpoint, it's going to be top of class. The renovations are going to make it the most modern, effective Hall of Fame in sports, and all the construction is taking place right now. So it's an exciting time. The Hall is doing extremely well, but this is going to take it to another level.
JARED GREENBERG: We're excited for that. Chairman, thank you very much for having us here today. Let's go to Lisa.
Lisa, what are your fondest memories of playing here in L.A., the city that you just racked up championships in?
LISA LESLIE: My fondest memories are definitely the people, the fans. I always said I love playing basketball because it brought people together regardless of their race, their creed and their beliefs. Having the opportunity to bring a city like Los Angeles together and people cheering is what I'll always remember most about my experience here.
JARED GREENBERG: Thank you for joining us, Lisa. James knows something about that as well.
James, seven-time All-Star. You had an opportunity to play in a lot of these All-Star Games. What was your first memory back in the middle of the '80s, when you made your first one?
JAMES WORTHY: It's nice to be appreciated by the fans, first of all. I played with some great teammates; that had a lot to do with it. But, yeah, you work so hard and you get your scholarship to college, then you get drafted to the NBA. You think that's kind of the end of it, and then some extra bonuses start to come like being an All-Star. So it was an honor.
JARED GREENBERG: You had a few more bonuses as well. More than just an All-Star, a Hall of Famer here. How special is it to be here in L.A. for this event?
JAMES WORTHY: It's a great event. We consider Los Angeles like the mecca of basketball. I know some will argue, but it's a great city for an All-Star weekend. A lot of corporate, lot of sponsors, a lot of former players. It's an exciting weekend and some great talent.
JARED GREENBERG: Thank you very much for joining us, James Worthy, Lisa Leslie and the chairman, Jerry Colangelo.
No New Yorkers want to fight on the mecca comment, right? We're good on that. Some Detroit guys probably want to get at us too, right?
Well, we've got some breaking news. No sound effects or anything, I don't think, but we'll tell you about what you're all here to learn about today.
We are now proud to announce the winners of the 2018 Bunn Lifetime Achievement Awards. The single greatest honor presented to the Hall of Fame outside of enshrinement. You did hear me correctly, I said winners. For the second time in its history, the Hall of Fame will be awarding two Lifetime Achievement Awards in the same year. Two gentlemen with remarkable careers certainly make this unique circumstance understandable and extremely timely.
Jim Host was the founder of Host Communications, a college marketing and associate management company, which began back in 1972. In January of '72, what became Host Communications began as Jim Host and Associates. His first client was the Lexington Tourist and Convention Commission. This led to the formation of the Lexington Center Corporation, which built Rupp Arena. He served both groups as their first executive director. In 1973, the company introduced the NCAA corporate partner program. Before this time, there was no licensing of similar programs in college athletics.
Simply put, Jim Host revolutionized the marketing and partnership support of college basketball. He added another title to his decorated resume, chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, which built the KFC Yum! Center. When the arena was dedicated October 10, 2010, the lobby was named Host Hall in his honor. Please join me in recognizing our recipient of the 2018 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Jim Host.
Our second recipient has put together an equally remarkable career. This honoree has dedicated his life serving as a coach, mentor and tireless advocate in the game of basketball. Following a distinguishes career as a Marine Corps bomber pilot, this gentleman led both the Wayland University men's and women's team, and in his 18 years as women's coach, compiled a record of 431 wins and just 66 losses. A mark that included six AAU National Championships, two undefeated seasons and a 76-game unbeaten streak. I said 76 straight. He was also a national team coach, member of the U.S. Olympic Committee and a recipient of the Naismith Award for outstanding contributions to women's basketball. He spent 27 years in the coaching ranks, including significant contributions with the Women's National Basketball Committee and the AAU Rules Committee. He was also a vital voice in the development of the modernization of the women's game. Please join me in recognizing our second recipient of the 2018 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Harley Redin.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame annually gives its Curt Gowdy Award to two deserving members of the media. One for work in print media and one for electronic media. Born in Brooklyn, New York, this gentleman pursued his first and true love, sports photography, which took him out West, where he started to earn a living photographing basketball, hockey, football and baseball games right here in the Los Angeles area. After receiving his first NBA assignment in the 1983 NBA All-Star Game right here in L.A., his portfolio began to flourish.
In 1986, he became the NBA's first official photographer. You're taking a look at some of the pictures he's taken through the years. He played an integral role in helping create the league's photography department. As the official photographer for the Lakers, Clippers, Sparks, Dodgers and Kings, he's also covered the U.S. men's and women's basketball teams, starting with the 1992 Dream Team, and serves as director of photography for the Staples Center. Selected as the winner of the 2018 Curt Gowdy Award for Print Media, Andy Bernstein.
Our broadcast award winner has worked across nearly three decades, where she has been a top commentator on every level of basketball. She has been so influential working in the NBA, women's and men's college basketball and the WNBA. She has covered basketball for ESPN since 1991, and prior to the start of the 2017-2018 campaign, the network named her a full-time NBA game analyst. She also serves as the lead ESPN NBA courtside reporter for NBA playoff games and the NBA Finals on ABC. She previously served as a WNBA analyst for the New York Liberty on MSG Network and also worked as a women's college basketball analyst for CBS Sports and Westwood One radio. The first woman to call Knicks radio and television broadcast, Doris Burke's extensive broadcasting experience includes being the first woman to call a Big East men's game on television.
It is my absolute honor to recognize the 2018 Curt Gowdy Award winner for electronic media, Doris Burke.
Doris and Andy, would you mind joining us on stage for a few questions. Doris, you're not allowed to ask any questions.
DORIS BURKE: It's far more comfortable asking than answering.
JARED GREENBERG: Just don't pull a Pop on me.
DORIS BURKE: I'll be better than that, for sure.
JARED GREENBERG: What are your thoughts on being here and being part of all of this?
DORIS BURKE: I'm in awe of the people behind me certainly. So many of my heroes in life were basketball players. I've been shaped by the game since I was 7. One of my heroes right there, Jackie MacMullan, is also a former award winner, so I'm completely humbled and honored and blown away. I'm going to try not to cry.
JARED GREENBERG: When did you first fall in love with the game?
DORIS BURKE: I was 7. My family moved from New York to New Jersey. My father got a new job, and I happened to move next to a very small park, Indian Hill Park in Manasquan, picked up the ball and never put it down. I used to watch NBA tape-delayed games. College basketball was appointment viewing for me. I thought I was going to be Mo Cheeks or Kyle Macy. Those were the people I sort of remember on television, thinking, I could be those guys.
JARED GREENBERG: Well, congratulations, you inspire many men and women.
Andy, what are your thoughts on being here today?
ANDY BERNSTEIN: Well, the first thing that comes to mind is I really want to thank these guys who I photographed, and I'm very, very thrilled, happy, humbled. I actually started my career right up the road from Springfield, at Amherst University in Massachusetts, so it's a real full circle event for me.
JARED GREENBERG: As you mentioned, you photographed so many of these great athletes over the years. Did you ever think it would be possible for you to be an award winner?
ANDY BERNSTEIN: Absolutely not. I never even thought about it. The fact that there's a print category and the fact there are photographers now being honored is beyond my comprehension. But I'm totally thrilled and just can't believe it.
JARED GREENBERG: I'm sure we saw a lot of the pictures today that were on NBA TV that we were introducing that many people never realized come from you. Congratulations. Wish you the best of luck.
ANDY BERNSTEIN: Thank you very much.
JARED GREENBERG: Andy Bernstein, Doris Burke.
Well, congratulations to our winners. Thanks to the Hall for honoring these remarkable individuals who have done so much for the growth of basketball.
We're going to keep things moving here, as there are many people around the world watching and very eager to learn who has been chosen as today's finalists. The critical next step to being named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. So without any further delay, from the North American and Women's Committees, here are the names of the 13 finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2018.
This remarkable player led his South Carolina Hillcrest High School team to its first state championship, which led to a scholarship to the University of Connecticut. A consensus first-team All-America honoree in 1996, he was also the Big East and UPI Player of the Year. The fifth selection in the 1996 NBA Draft, he began a historic 18-year career in Milwaukee, moving on to Seattle, Boston and Miami.
The winner of the 2001 Three-Point Contest, he was a 10-time All-Star and two-time NBA champion. We all remember that iconic shot he hit with the Miami Heat. While scoring over 24,000 points in his career, he was also a successful movie actor, and importantly he was awarded the NBA Sportsmanship Award in 2003. He's continued his outstanding charitable work into his retirement. Selected as a finalist as a player by the North American Committee, ladies and gentlemen, Ray Allen.
Our next finalist, he's been involved in the NBA either at the playing or coaching level since 1978. As a player, he was named to four NBA All-Star Games, a four-time NBA All-Defensive Team selection, a member of one NBA championship team and set the steals and assists record for Philadelphia. This Chicago native would go on to a career in coaching with the Portland Trail Blazers and Philadelphia 76ers, and he currently serves as an assistant coach in Oklahoma City. Selected as a finalist as a player for the North American Committee, Maurice Cheeks.
He's known for inventing Midnight Madness. A coach famed for his quirky motivational techniques, who would go on to win 786 games at four different schools. Leading each one of them to the NCAA Tournament -- Davidson, James Madison, Georgia State. And during his time at the University of Maryland, e landed three of the most highly recruited players ever in Tom McMillan, Albert King and Moses Malone, who would eventually head straight to the pros. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Lefty Driesell.
This gentleman was a dual-sport athlete, drafted by both the San Francisco Giants and the St. Louis Hawks in 1962. Following a stint in the Giants' system, he began his career as an NBA referee, working a remarkable 1,969 regular-season games over a 28-year span. Recognized for his excellence on the court, he worked 170 playoff games, four NBA All-Star Games and 35 games in the NBA Finals. He went on to serve as the assistant supervisor of officials for the NBA for three seasons and was enshrined in the Basketball Halls of Fame of North Carolina A&T and in New York City. Selected as a finalist as a referee by the North American Committee, Hugh Evans.
This gentleman came into national attention during a historic career at Duke University, where he helped lead the Blue Devils to national titles in 1991 and 1992. A consensus first-team All American selection and ACC Player of the Year in 1994, he was the third player taken in the 1994 NBA Draft. He went on to a 19-year career in the NBA, including seven All-Star appearances and co-Rookie of the Year in 1995. Overcoming numerous injuries and challenges, he was also known for his strength of character and philanthropic work, winning the NBA Sportsmanship Award three times and the Mannie Jackson - Basketball's Human Spirit Award from the Hall of Fame. Simply one of the classiest figures in the game. He has been selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Grant Hill.
Our next finalist grew up in Oakland and led his high school team to consecutive state championships, which he won the Naismith Award as the nation's top high school player.
Following his college career at the University of California, he was drafted as the second player taken in the 1994 NBA Draft by the Dallas Mavericks. During his remarkable career with Dallas, Phoenix, the Nets and the Knicks, he was a 10-time All-Star and a five-time NBA First Team player. Noted for his all-around game, he was a four-time First Team All-Defensive Team member and led the league in assists five times. He was part of two gold-medal-winning Olympic teams and finished his career third in regular-season triple-doubles. Second all time in assists and steals and won an NBA championship ring in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks. Selected as a finalist as a player from the North American Committee, Jason Kidd.
This woman's career in basketball can be defined by one word on every level: excellence. She was an outstanding player at Louisiana Tech and won the prestigious Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award while leading her team to two national championships under Hall of Fame coach Leon Barmore. As a coach, she's led her Baylor Bears to 17 postseason appearances, three Final Fours and two national championships, in 2005 and 2012. She is the five-time Big 12 Coach of the Year and two-time winner of the USBWA National Coach of the Year honor.
She is the first person in the history of our game to win a national championship as a player, as an assistant and as a head coach. Selected as a finalist by the Women's Committee as a coach, Kim Mulkey.
This Canadian native followed a successful high school career in British Columbia with a scholarship to Santa Clara University in California, where he helped lead his team to three NCAA Tournament appearances and was twice named the West Coast Conference Player of the Year. The 15th player taken in the 1996 NBA Draft, he went on to play for two decades with Phoenix, Dallas and the Lakers.
During his remarkable career, he was an eight-time All-Star, a three-time All-NBA First Team selection and led the NBA in assists five times while being named the league's Most Valuable Player in 2005 and 2006. He would also play on medal-winning teams for Team Canada. He has been honored for his work off the court, winning the prestigious Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2007. His number was retired by the Phoenix Suns and he resides in the team's Ring of Honor. Selected as a finalist as a player by the North American Committee, Steve Nash.
This Ohio native has excelled at every level of the game. She was named the Gatorade National Player of the Year during her senior year in high school and broke the Big Ten scoring record for points in a career during her time at the Ohio State University. She was the first female athlete to have her number retired at Ohio State.
She starred initially with the Columbus Quest of the ABL, where she helped the team win both league championships in league history. She went on to become a seven-time WNBA All-Star and led the league in scoring in 2001. She was named one of the WNBA's top 15 all-time players in 2011 and won two WNBA championships with the Detroit Shock, including being named Finals MVP back in 2008.
In her amazing career, she also helped win three Olympic gold medals for Team USA. She's gone on to a successful career coaching in the WNBA. But today she's named a finalist as a player by the Women's Committee, Katie Smith.
On to our next finalist. The distinction of becoming the first player selected in the history of the WNBA Draft based on her outstanding careers at Morningside High in Inglewood, California, and USC, beginning as a member of the Houston Comets with successful stops in Los Angeles and Seattle, she went on to a historic career where she was a nine-time WNBA All-Star, a three-time First Team member, the All-Star Game MVP in 2000 and helped win four WNBA championships. She was named one of the league's top 15 all-time players in 2011 and won two gold medals as a member of the U.S. women's team in 2004 and 2008. Overseas, she helped lead her teams to championships in Russia and Romania. She has now been named a finalist as a player by the Women's Committee, Tina Thompson.
This gentleman has had a remarkable career in basketball. He followed an outstanding college career in Michigan with a career as an NBA player, including five All-Star appearances. His coaching career was equally remarkable, with over 500 career victories while leading his Houston Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995. One of three coaches to lead a team to the NBA title and an Olympic gold medal.
He was named the NBA Coach of the Year in 1993 and led his team to seven consecutive playoff appearances. Never underestimate the heart of a champion. Named as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Rudy Tomjanovich.
One of the great hidden stories in the history of basketball. 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 combined great skills with a sense of fun, including warm-ups learned from the Harlem Globetrotters. The team would win four straight national AAU championships. Selected as a finalist by the women's committee as a team, the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens.
This Michigan native had an outstanding high school career at Detroit Country Day, where he was named the National High School Player of the Year in 1991, winning MVP honors in both the McDonald's and Dapper Dan All-Star Games. He went on to a historic career at the University of Michigan, joining the Fab Five with remarkable impact both on and off the court.
A consensus first-team All American in 1993. He was the first player drafted in the '93 draft and was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1994. He went on to average nearly 21 points and 10 rebounds per game during his time in the NBA. A five-time NBA All-Star, he's also widely recognized for his work off the court with numerous charities and collecting and preserving African-American artifacts. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Chris Webber.
I'd like now to invite Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Nancy Lieberman to the stage to get their thoughts on today's potential new members. Also, I'd like the chairman and Hall of Famer Jerry Colangelo to rejoin us as well.
Well, Kareem, what are your thoughts today as you're getting closer and closer to finding out who is going to go into the Hall of Fame Class of 2018?
KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I think it's awesome that they take such an in-depth look. Because there are so many guys that have contributed that don't get the recognition. So I'm glad that the Hall of Fame takes the time and looks into it in depth. They do their homework and they come up with good choices.
JARED GREENBERG: Nancy, I know you're a student of the game worldwide. I'd like to get your thoughts and some insight on Katie Smith and Tina Thompson being finalists.
NANCY LIEBERMAN: First, I want to congratulate Doris for what she's done for women's basketball. It's unbelievable. In all my time I've been here at the Hall, I don't think I've ever heard so many women's names called to potentially be honored, with Katie and Tina and Wayland Baptist the Flying Queens and Harley for what he did for the game. When you focus in on the two, Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, I think of winners, I think of character, people who lifted people around them. They just embody what this game is and where it's come from. I'm really proud of both of them.
JARED GREENBERG: Love the passion, Nancy, always do. Chairman Colangelo, when you look at these finalists and who may make up the Class of 2018, what do you think of this group?
JERRY COLANGELO: There is a lot of depth from top to bottom, and it's going to be very difficult in terms of the Honors Committee. For everyone's edification, this the first step. The second step is the Honors Committee, made up of 24 voters, needs to come up with 18 votes for an individual to be actually elected. So when you look at this depth that I refer to, there are going to be some very difficult decisions made. But it's an outstanding class of players, coaches, officials. That's the one thing the Hall has done. We cover the whole spectrum in terms of the game of basketball.
JARED GREENBERG: Thank you, Jerry. Appreciate that. Thank you, Kareem, Nancy. Appreciate it.
I'd like to thank all of you here in the room, watching at home, for taking the time to share this afternoon, and to all of the Hall of Famers for making the time. We know everybody's got very busy schedules this weekend. Let's hear a round of applause for the 2018 finalists and congratulations to everyone being honored today.
As Jerry mentioned, being named a finalist to the Hall is a huge honor just in itself. But we want you to mark these important dates down. The Hall Class of 2018 will be introduced on Saturday, March 31st at the NCAA men's Final Four in San Antonio. Enshrinement 2018 will take place September 7th, as always, in Springfield, Massachusetts, at the Basketball Hall of Fame. Hope to see everybody out there to the birthplace of basketball.
Thank you for coming out today, and to our audience watching on NBA TV, NBA.com and on the NBA App. Please enjoy the rest of All-Star 2018 right here from Los Angeles, California.
FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports