Induction night for the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., gave off a distinct feel of the DMV on Friday, with a former Washington Post All-Met from South Lakes High in Reston and a former Maryland coach among those enshrined.
Lefty Driesell, 86, won 786 games at four schools in 40-plus years of college coaching, and was the first coach in NCAA history to win more than 100 games at four schools: Davidson, Maryland, James Madison and Georgia State. Driesell engaged the crowd at Springfield’s Symphony Hall, cracking jokes at the expense of his presenters, Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski, former Southern California coach George Raveling and former Georgetown coach John Thompson.
“I used to be a hero around D.C. until he came,” Driesell said of Thompson. “And he took little old Georgetown, who we used to beat easy . . . and I quit playing him.”
Grant Hill, who won two national championships at Duke after a standout high school career at South Lakes, played 19 seasons in an NBA career limited only by injury. Hill was the first to address the crowd and went out of his way to pay tribute to the doctors who helped him get back on track after he played in just 47 games between the start of the 2000-2001 season and the end of the 2003-2004 season. He also thanked Krzyzewski, his college coach, who sat on stage to watch the first Duke player ever to be enshrined in the Hall.
Other inductees included guards Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Maurice Cheeks, women’s basketball stars Katie Smith and Tina Thompson, longtime league and team executive Rod Thorn, five-time all-star Charlie Scott, EuroLeague and FIBA great forward Dino Radja — who also played four seasons with the Boston Celtics — ex-Golden State Warriors executive Rick Welts, dual sport star Ora Mae Washington and Curt Gowdy media award recipient Doris Burke.
Kidd and Nash share Dirk Nowitzki as arguably their best mutual teammate. Both spent time setting up Nowitzki on the Dallas Mavericks, and the future inductee from Germany was in attendance, along with longtime Mavs coach and Hall of Famer Don Nelson.
Nelson, long since retired to the comfort of his home on Maui, looked . . . distinguished. Naturally, this brought out the best in NBA Twitter.
Nash made it a point to salute his fellow NBA superstar inductees, singling out Hill, Kidd and Allen for specific praise while reminding spectators and fans both of a glorious era and why Hall of Fame induction night is so great.
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