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February 15, 2019

Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Charlotte, North Carolina

MATT WINER: Matt Winer. Thank you. Good afternoon to all of you in the room. For all of you watching at home on NBA TV, NBA.com, or the NBA app we are live from Charlotte, North Carolina, and the front end All Star Weekend 2019.

With the possible exception of Springfield, Massachusetts, where basketball was born, there is no more appropriate location for a moment of this magnitude than this state, where so many native and transplanted North Carolinians have launched legendary, transcendent careers. As a fan, it's an honor to share the stage with so many incredible players and contributors who have helped the game grow over the year, all of whom have made enough of an impact to be recognized by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, where the game lives forever.

As a broadcaster, it is always fun to break news, which is exactly what we're about to do here today. The names of the Hall of Fame annual award winners to be recognized during this year's enshrinement in September, and we'll reveal the names of the finalists for the Hall of Fame class of 2019.

As a reminder, as has been the case for several years, what we will not do today is announce the names of the 2019 class members from the direct elect committees. Those committees include the Early African American Pioneers Committee, the Veterans Committee, the International Committee, the Contributors Committee, and a new important committee, the Women's Veterans Committee charged with reviewing candidates out of the game for at least 35 years. The class members from those committees will be announced with the full class at the Final Four in Minneapolis in April.

There are many noteworthy and varied nominees for those committees including Vlade Divac, Toni Kukoc, Tal Brody, Chuck Cooper, Al Attles, Marv Albert - "yes!" - the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens, and Johnny Most.

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has an enormous responsibility to honor basketball across all levels and across the globe. Today the nominees certainly reflect that effort. A complete list of nominees for these categories is available online at hoophall.com.

Before we announce the award winners and nominees, I'd like to introduce the remarkable group of people on stage with me here today in Charlotte. We are honored to be joined by these extraordinary members of the Hall of Fame family.

From the class of 1996, Nancy Lieberman.


From the class of 2015, Spencer Haywood.


From the class of 1997, Alex English.


From the class of 1987, Rick Barry.


From the class of 1995 and the poster on my wall when I was 11 years old, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


From the class of 2004, Jerry Colangelo.


From the class of 1996, David Thompson.


From the 2018 class, Rick Welts.


And from the class of 2011, the A Train, Artis Gilmore.


Thanks to all for being here today. Before we begin today's program, I want to call up a couple of Hall of Famers, first Chairman Colangelo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Gentlemen, if you would.

Guys, thanks for being here as always. Jerry, I understand there's some good news from Congress of all places, about a coin bill.

JERRY COLANGELO: In the year 2020 we will have a coin, a commemorative coin for the Hall of Fame, which is a unique opportunity for us to do some wonderful things with the proceeds. We expect a great response. Those will be available to the public beginning in 2020. But it's a momentous occasion for us to be able to do this.

MATT WINER: If basketball can unify Congress, it can do anything, right?

JERRY COLANGELO: No, I don't think so (laughing). I don't think so.

MATT WINER: Also, there's some physical changes coming to the Hall itself. What can you tell us about those?

JERRY COLANGELO: We're also excited about that. In 2020 again, to celebrate the 60th birthday of the Hall of Fame, we'll be opening our new Hall of Fame. We've raised over $30 million to take care of the renovations, and the first phase is completed. It was open this past year. Phase 2 will be finished in '20, and we're really excited about what it's going to look like. It's going to be technologically as good as it gets.

MATT WINER: Congratulations on all your work.

Kareem, there is an award in your name to honor the top college center in all the land. What does it mean to you to be associated with that honor?

KAREEM ABDUL-JABBAR: Well, I'm very flattered that they would associate my name with excellence in that fashion. So, you know, I'm a big fan now.

MATT WINER: Guys, we appreciate you being here. It's great to have all of these Hall of Famers on stage with us. Thanks so much, Jerry Colangelo and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.


Now on to the breaking news portion of the show. The Hall of Fame is proud to announce the winners of the 2019 Bunn Lifetime Achievement Awards, the single greatest honor presented by the Hall of Fame outside of enshrinement. And you heard me correctly, I said "winners". For the third time in Hall history, the Hall of Fame will be awarding two lifetime achievement awards in the same year. As I remind you of the remarkable career paths of these two gentlemen, it will be become clear why the Hall couldn't limit itself to a single person.

Our first honoree is Del Harris, who dedicated his life to the game, as a coach, mentor, and tireless advocate. He has coached on every level of the game, from junior high to the NBA. Following a successful high-school coaching stint in his native Indiana, he spent nine seasons at Earlham College, where he led his Quakers to 15 conference and tournament titles. Del has coached internationally from Puerto Rico to China, and in the ABA before joining the NBA coaching ranks, serving as both a head coach and treasured assistant coach for over 35 years.

He led the Houston Rockets to the NBA Finals in 1981 and had successful tenures as head coach of the Milwaukee Bucks and L.A. Lakers, where he was recognized as NBA coach of the year in 1995.

He was a key assistant in Dallas, Chicago, and New Jersey, and even in the NBA D-League with the Texas Legends. A deeply spiritual man, he has been honored with the Jerry Colangelo Award for Courage and Character and the John Wooden Keys to Excellence Award. Please join me in recognizing the recipient of the 2019 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Del Harris.


Our second recipient has an equally remarkable career. In many ways, Harry Glickman's life is the story of the American dream, from humble beginnings, he's now often recognized as the father of professional sports in Oregon. Unlike many of us, he proved that one can succeed in life with a journalism degree, his from the University of Oregon.

After graduation, he pursued a career as a sports writer before World War II intervened. Following a three-year enlistment with the 12th Armored Division, he returned to his native Portland to begin promoting sports and entertainment events. For years, he pursued an NBA franchise for Portland before winning an expansion team for the city in 1970.

After successfully putting together the financial backing for the team, he oversaw all business and basketball operations, serving as the team president until his retirement. He was enshrined in the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame in 1986.

Join me in recognizing a recipient of the 2019 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, Mr. Harry Glickman.


The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame annually gives its Curt Gowdy Media Award for work in media, one for print media and one for electronic media. Our award winner for print journalism began covering the Los Angeles summer league while still a college student. Following his graduation from Cal State Fullerton, he began covering the NBA full-time in 1984 for the Los Angeles Daily News, covering the Lakers and the Clippers. He moved to the Dallas Morning News in 1987 to cover the Mavericks and the national basketball scene.

After serving as an NBA Network weekly correspondent, he became a full-time colleague of mine at ESPN in 2002 and covered the league across ESPN's platforms for nearly 18 years as an NBA insider, reporter, and columnist. He's also written and reported extensively on soccer and tennis.

He joined The New York Times in October of 2017 and remains one of the most respected reporters and columnists on the NBA beat. Selected as the winner of the 2019 Curt Gowdy Award for Print Media, Mr. Marc Stein.


Our Broadcast Award Winner began his career shortly after graduating from Bradley University. He worked extensively in Philadelphia, where he called games for the Phillies, Flyers, 76ers, and the Big Five before beginning an extraordinary career in Southern California, where he began broadcasting games for the San Diego Clippers in 1978. For over 40 years, he has been the voice of Clipper basketball in San Diego and Los Angeles, calling over 3,100 games while working with a variety of co-hosts, including Hall of Famer Bill Walton. Those games should count double.

He has been honored with three Emmys, a Telly award, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and induction into several California sports halls of fame as well. From his signature, "oh, me, oh, my," to Lawler's Law, the simple recognition that the first team to reach 100 points generally wins his legacy in the broadcasting community in Los Angeles and throughout the Clippers organization will be celebrated for years to come. Join me in recognizing the 2019 Curt Gowdy Award for Electronic Media, Ralph Lawler.


Gentlemen, if you would join us on the stage for a moment, Marc Stein and Ralph Lawler, everybody.

Marc, I'll start with you. You get the call from the Hall of Fame, what goes through your head?

MARC STEIN: I know I'm supposed to have words. That's kind of a big part of the job. I hope you can carry me like you used to on TV, you don't even know what to -- I don't even know what to say honestly. My first year covering the league was the Clippers halfway through the '93-'94 season, and Ralph was at the table. He just -- I don't know. I'm lost.

MATT WINER: Ralph, you've been through a few halls of fame. This one is a little different.

RALPH LAWLER: Oh, yeah, this is the ultimate, capping a 40-year career with a ball club. No better way to do it than to have this honor. It's the ultimate owner that a broadcaster or journalist of any sort can have. We are thrilled to death.

MATT WINER: I don't know what your reaction was when you got the call, but mine when I heard you were being honored today was, "Oh me, oh my."

RALPH LAWLER: That was probably it. We were in Boston with the Clippers to play the Celtics. And Al McCoy, who got this award some years ago told me he got the call and didn't recognize the number, so he ignored it two or three times. And finally got through, and said, oh, my goodness. I got this call in, and I didn't recognize the number, and it said "Springfield" on it, so I told my wife Jo, "I think I'd better answer this one."

MATT WINER: When Springfield calls, you answer the call.

Marc, there's a lot that goes into this business -- the travel, the deadlines, and all of that. What does it mean the work was ultimately recognized?

MARC STEIN: This is the best job in the world. I think Ralph would say it. I see so many colleagues and friends. To get to cover this league, it's the best access. It's the best personalities, the players and the coaches. I've covered all the sports, but I think the players and coaches in this league, they are the most open. They show us the most. They let us in the most. To call this work is a stretch.

MATT WINER: Congratulations to you both. Marc Stein and Ralph Lawler, everybody.


Congratulations to all of our winners, and thanks to the Hall for recognizing these remarkable individuals who have given so much to help the game grow over the years.

All right. Now to today's finalists, the critical next step to being named to the Basketball Hall of Fame. Without further delay, here are the names of the 13 finalists for the Hall of Fame class of 2019 from the North American and Women's Committees.

This Texas native began her coaching career in 1962 at Tolar High School and went on to a remarkable career covering 51 years at five schools. Her primary home was Granbury High in Granbury, Texas, and she led her team to 16 Final Four appearances and won the state high school championship in 1990. While at Cal Allen High School, with a winning percentage of over .800, she's won more games than any other high school coach, male or female, ending her career with 1,416 wins. She was enshrined in the High School, Texas, and Women's Basketball halls of fame and was named the recipient of the Morgan Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 by the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

She was named a finalist by the Women's Committee as a coach, Leta Andrews.


Our next finalist was a dual-sport athlete drafted by both the San Francisco Giants and the Hawks in my hometown of St. Louis 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 28 seasons. Recognized for his excellence on the court, he worked 170 playoff games, four NBA All-Star Games, and 35 Finals games. He went on to serve as the assistant supervisor of officials for the NBA for three seasons and was enshrined in both the North Carolina A&T and New York City Basketball halls of fame. Selected as a finalist as a referee by the North American Committee, Hugh Evans.


This Iowa native followed a stint as a marine drill instructor with a successful college coaching career, qualifying twice for the NCAA Tournament. Moving to the NBA coaching ranks, he began his exceptional career turning franchises in transition into winners. He finished his career ranked fifth among all NBA coaches with 944 wins, including three straight 60-win seasons. A two-time NBA Coach of the Year, he led the Boston Celtics to an NBA title in 1981 and later won the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award for coaching. Named a finalist by the North America Committee as a coach, Bill Fitch.


Raised in Los Angeles, this gentleman was part of John Wooden's final championship team at UCLA. A consensus first team All-American and National College Player of the Year, he was the third pick in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Milwaukee Bucks. This point forward was named All-NBA First Team in 1979 and helped lead his team to five division titles. A five-time time all star, he finished his career following turns with the Clippers and Warriors. His number will be retired in Milwaukee this season, and today his name appears on the list of Hall of Fame finalists, named as a player by the North American Committee, Marques Johnson.


Starting right here in North Carolina, this versatile player built a career as one of the most respected defenders and athletes of his era. Following a successful four years at the University of North Carolina, he landed in Denver, where he transitioned from the ABA to the NBA with the Nuggets. He then moved on to the Philadelphia 76ers for the final eight seasons as an extraordinary player for the 76ers. Between the two leagues, he was a five-time all star, a ten-time First Team All Defensive Player, the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 1983, and a vital member of the 76ers championship team that same year. His number 24 has been retired in Philadelphia. One of the most respected players, teammates, and gentlemen in the history of the game, he is named a finalist as a player by the North American Committee, Bobby Jones.


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, the Bucks drafted him fifth overall, and he would spend 10 of his 11 years in Milwaukee, where he never missed the postseason. A fierce defender, 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 over 20 points per game in four straight seasons. This five-time all star is now named a finalist as a player by the North American committee, Sidney Moncrief.


A skilled big man, he starred at Illinois Wesleyan University, where he was a three time NAIA All-American and a two time academic All-American. The eighth selection of the 1977 Draft, he went on to a historic career with the Seattle SuperSonics, where he was named to seven straight all-star teams and helped lead the Sonics to the 1979 NBA championship. He finished his career with five productive seasons with playoff teams in Milwaukee. His number was retired in Seattle, and he was named to the NAIA Hall of Fame. A threat inside and out, he is selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Jack Sikma.


This Massachusetts native has spent over 40 years of her professional life dedicated to coaching women's college basketball. She began her career as Clark University, moved to the University of Massachusetts, and then to her home since 1986, Bentley University. She is a five-time WBCA Division II National Coach of the Year and was the fifth coach in NCAA women's basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins. She led her Bentley team to the Division II championship in 2014. She's coached twelve 30-win seasons and is ranked first on the all time D-II women's victory lists. She's been enshrined in the New England and Women's Basketball halls of fame. Named a finalist by the women's committee, Barbara Stevens.


His impressive coaching career began back in the 1960s. At the time of his retirement in 2008, he won more than 800 games and made six NCAA Elite Eight appearances and three Final Fours. He's been recognized by four halls of fame and was the first coach in NCAA history to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament. He's been selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a coach, Eddie Sutton.


From small town Alabama, our next nominee made a huge impact in the NBA as an elite defender and rebounder. An undrafted free agent out of Virginia Union, where he was a first team Division II All-American, he played with Washington, Orlando, Chicago, and Cleveland, but is best known as the defensive lynchpin of the Detroit Pistons' 2004 title team. One of two players in NBA history to claim four Defensive Player of the Year awards, he was a five-time All Defensive First Team member, who twice led the NBA in rebounding and led the league in blocks in 2002. A four-time all star, his number is retired in Motown. Named a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, "Big" Ben Wallace.


This Texas native was a two-time All-American at Louisiana Tech, where she helped lead her team to the National Championship in 1988 before winning an Olympic gold medal later that year. By the time the WNBA launched nine years later, she was already an accomplished pro in Italy, where she was a six-time all star in France and in Russia, where she won two titles. With the New York Liberty, she became one of the original stars of the new WNBA, earning five all-star selections and two Defensive Player of the Year awards. She was the first player to score 1,000 points and record 1,000 assists in the WNBA and was voted one of the top players in league history in 2011. Always a fan favorite, she was enshrined in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010 and is now named a finalist as a player by the Women's Committee, Teresa Weatherspoon.


The National High School Player of the year at Detroit Country Day, this dynamic big man won MVP honors at both the McDonald's and Dapper Dan All Star Games before launching a game-changing career in nearby Ann Arbor. The centerpiece of the Fab Five, he and his teammates took the basketball world by storm with their style, swagger, and considerable skills. A first-time All-American in 1993, for his team, I should say, he was the first pick in that year's NBA Draft and Rookie of the Year the following season. A five-time all star, he averaged nearly 21 points and 10 boards a game for his career. Today he is widely recognized for his work with charity and efforts to collect and preserve African American artifacts. Selected as a finalist by the North American committee as a player, "C-Webb", Chris Webber.


After a standout career at USC, where his number is retired, this California native headed across the country to begin his NBA career as the Celtics' choice and the 10th pick of the 1972 draft. After winning a championship in Boston in 1974, he was traded to the Phoenix Suns, where he helped propel the Suns to the franchise's first NBA Finals. His well-rounded game earned him five all star selections and three times landed him on all NBA First teams. Following his playing career, he moved to the bench, where in his first season as the head coach, he led the Suns back to the NBA Finals for the first time since he had played there. His number is retired in Phoenix, and he is a member of the Phoenix Suns' Ring of Honor. Selected as a finalist by the North American Committee as a player, Paul Westphal.


Let's bring up a couple of our finalists, if we could. Sidney Moncrief and Paul Westphal joined us here today in Charlotte. Let's hear it for our finalists.


Guys, you get the call from Springfield, Ralph says you should take that call, whether you recognize the number or not. What goes through your mind?

PAUL WESTPHAL: It's the biggest honor in basketball just to be considered. It's fantastic. I don't know how to have any more words for it than that.

MATT WINER: Sidney, you were obviously a great offensive player, but so much your game was predicated on defense. What does it mean to you that so many of the finalists here have a defensive background Ben Wallace and Bobby Jones and Teresa Weatherspoon and yourself?

SIDNEY MONCRIEF: Let me say, I'm so inspired and honored by these individuals on the stage. Thank you for setting the trend for us and helping to make us better. Defense matters, and it's really nice that the attention has started to get focused on players that defend and play the game the right way. I look at the list -- Eddie Sutton coached me in college. Del Harris coached me in Milwaukee, Marques Johnson, Jack Sikma were my teammates. I'm very pleased with the selection.

MATT WINER: There's very much a Bucks theme here today.


MATT WINER: Congratulations to you both. Sidney Moncrief, Paul Westphal.


Thanks to all who have joined us here, and, again, to all of you who have joined us either watching on NBA TV on the NBA app, or NBA.com. A reminder that everyone will be available to the media present in the room following the event. Let's have a round of applause for all of our 2019 finalists. Congratulations to all of you. Being named as a finalist to the Hall is an honor in and of itself.

A reminder the class of 2019 will be introduced on Saturday, April 6th, at the Final Four in Minneapolis. Enshrinement will take place September 6th. Hope to see you there.

Good night, everybody. Congratulations to all our newly named finalists.

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