It was a great year for guards.
The 2018 class for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was made official Saturday and it is loaded with some of the great guards of the last couple decades in the NBA. There are not a lot of surprises here — if Jason Kidd isn’t a first-ballot Hall of Famer you’re doing it wrong — but it doesn’t lessen the quality of the class.
Here is who made it and will be inducted this fall.
Jesus Shuttlesworth Allen had as pure a jump shot as the game has ever seen, which lifted him to be the NBA’s all-time leader in made three-pointers. Allen’s resume includes two NBA Championships (2008 Boston Celtics and 2013 Miami Heat), being an All-Star 10 times, and having an Olympic Gold Medal in 2000. Before getting to the NBA, he was a 1996 First Team All-American at UConn. However, when you think of Allen, you’ll think of this shot.
JASON KIDD. Arguably the greatest point guards of his generation and without question belongs in the Hall. However, if you want the resume he’s an NBA champion (2011 Dallas Mavericks), five-time All-NBA First Team, four-times All-Defensive First Team, a 10-time NBA All-Star, and the 1995 NBA Co-Rookie of the Year. At the University of California, Kidd was named Pac-10 Player of the Year and a consensus First-Team All American in 1994.
STEVE NASH. Nash is a two-time NBA MVP who helped revolutionize the NBA with Mike D’Antoni and the seven-seconds or less Suns (every NBA team now was influenced by Nash and those Suns). He’s Canada’s greatest NBA player ever and he got the HOF resume with those MVPs, being an eight-time NBA All-Star, and being three-time All-NBA First Team member. He is third in all-time assists and holds the NBA record for highest career free throw percentage (.904).
GRANT HILL. Despite injuries that changed the trajectory of his career, Hill’s greatness was never in question. He was the 1995 Co-Rookie of the Year (with Kidd), five-times All-NBA, a seven-time NBA All-Star, and in college at Duke was a member of two NCAA national championship teams (1991, 1992). Hill also has a gold medal in the 1996 Olympic Games, and now he’s part of the Atlanta Hawks ownership group.
MAURICE CHEEKS. It’s good to see defense get rewarded. Cheeks was a lock-down defender for most of his 15-year career, an NBA champion (the 1983 Philadelphia 76ers), a four-time NBA All-Star, and a five-time All-Defense player. Cheeks is still involved in the game and is currently an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.
CHARLIE SCOTT. Another great guard who played a couple of seasons in the ABA before going to Phoenix in the NBA. He’s a five-time All-Star who averaged 20.7 points per game for his career, and was a 1976 NBA Champion with the Celtics.
ROD THORN. Thorn was a coach and GM with the Bulls who drafted Michael Jordan, but more than that built the Nets teams that reached back-to-back NBA Finals, ran the 76ers and served for years in the league office.
RICK WELTS. An executive formerly with the Suns and now with the Warriors, he helped transform franchises and make them profitable.
DINO RADJA. He played four seasons with the Celtics back in the 1990s (averaging 16.7 points per game and making the All-Rookie team), but Croatian big man is in on the strength of his international play, where he is one of FIBA’s 50 Greatest Players.
Also getting in this year but not with direct NBA ties:
TINA THOMPSON. Thompson is a four-time WNBA Champion with the Houston Comets (1997- 2000) and a nine-time WNBA All-Star. She is one of the greatest WNBA players in the league’s history.
CHARLES “LEFTY’ DRIESELL. Driesell is the only coach in NCAA history to win 100 games at four different schools and just one of 11 coaches to lead four schools to the NCAA Tournament.
KATIE SMITH. The WNBA Finals MVP (2008) and a two-time WNBA Champion with the Detroit Shock (2006, 2008), she is the all-time leading scorer in women’s professional basketball, plus has three Olympic gold medals. Smith played for the Ohio State University (1992-1996) and was the first female Buckeye athlete to have her number retired.
ORA MAE WASHINGTON. One of the great female athletes of the turn of the last century, she was born in 1898 and part of 11 straight Women’s Colored Basketball Championship teams.