Dikembe Mutombo, Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Jo Jo White finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame

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The Basketball Hall of Fame released its list finalists for the 2015 class.

It includes five NBA players:

DIKEMBE [MUTOMBO] [Player] – [Mutombo] is an eight-time NBA All-Star (1992, 1995-98, 2000-02) and a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year (1995, 1997, 1998, 2001).  He led the NBA in blocked shots for five consecutive seasons (1994-98) and blocks per game for a record three consecutive seasons (1994-96). He earned NBA All-Rookie Team recognition in 1992 and All-NBA Second Team in 2001.  A native of Zaire, Africa, [Mutombo] attended Georgetown University (1988-1991) and played in the NBA from 1991 until 2009 recording 11,729 points, 12,359 rebounds, and 3,289 blocks in eighteen NBA seasons. He received the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award in 2001 and 2009. His legendary finger-wagging motion after blocked shots became one of the most recognized gestures in the game.

KEVIN JOHNSON [Player] – Johnson is the first player to have his jersey retired at the University of California.  After playing for Cal from 1983-1987, he played for 12 years in the NBA and holds the NBA Finals single-game record for most minutes played with 62.  Johnson is the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 assists, a .500 field goal percentage and two steals per game for an entire season.  In 1989, he earned the NBA Most Improved Player award.  The three-time NBA All-Star (1990, 1991, 1994) is also an All-NBA Second Team member (1989, 1990, 1991, 1994) and an All-NBA Third Team member (1992).  As the mayor of his hometown of Sacramento, California, Johnson was a major advocate of keeping the Sacramento Kings NBA team in the city when it was at high risk of moving.

TIM HARDAWAY [Player] – A 2000 Olympic Gold Medalist, Hardaway played 13 NBA seasons scoring a total of 15,373 points while averaging more than 20 points per game for four consecutive seasons.  He is the 1990 recipient of the Jack McMahon Award for most inspirational player and a 1993 All-NBA Third Team member.  He currently ranks fourteenth in NBA history with 7,095 career assists. The Chicago native was a member of the men’s basketball team at the University of Texas at El Paso (1985-1989) and played in the NBA from 1989-2003.  He is known for making his signature move – the “UTEP Two-step” – famous in 1989, the same year he was named WAC Player of the Year.

SPENCER HAYWOOD [Player] – Haywood joined the ABA in 1969 and then went on to play for 12 years in the NBA (1970-1983), where he scored 14,592 points, had 7,038 rebounds and won an NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980.  He is a four-time NBA All-Star (1972-1975) and two-time All-NBA First Team member (1973, 1974).  Haywood was the leading scorer on the 1968 gold medal United States Olympic team.  During his time with the ABA’s Denver Nuggets, he was named ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA All Star Game MVP.  He holds ABA single season records for most minutes played (3,808), most field goals made (986), most rebounds (1,637) and highest rebounding average (19.5).  At the University of Detroit, he was a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 1969.

JO JO WHITE [Player] – White is a seven-time NBA All-Star (1971-1977) and two-time NBA Champion with the Boston Celtics (1974,1976).  He earned NBA All-Rookie Teams honors in 1970 and All-NBA Second Team in 1975 and 1977. White was named the NBA Finals MVP in 1976 and averaged 17.2 points, 4.0 rebounds, and 4.9 assists per game in 12 NBA seasons. He played for the University of Kansas from 1965-69, earning The Sporting News and Converse First Team All-America in 1969. In 1968, White won a gold medal with the U.S. Olympic team.

An NBA coach:

BILL FITCH [Coach] – Fitch, a native of Davenport, Iowa, coached in the NBA for 25 seasons, being named Coach of the Year twice (1976, 1980). In 1996, he was named to the NBA’s Ten Best Coaches of All Time. He led the Boston Celtics to a Championship (1981) and still holds the highest winning percentage in Celtics history (.738). He is the second coach in NBA history to lead a team to three straight 60-win seasons. Prior to coaching in the NBA, Fitch coached collegiately for twelve years leading North Dakota University to consecutive NCAA Division II Final Fours (1965, 1966). He was the recipient of the Chuck Daly Lifetime Achievement Award during the NBA 2012-13 season.

And an NBA referee:

DICK BAVETTA [Referee] – Bavetta, a native of Brooklyn, NY, served as an NBA Official for 39 consecutive years. At the conclusion of the 2013-14 season, he had officiated 2,635 consecutive regular season games having never missed a game throughout his entire career. On April 2, 2014, he set the ironman record in professional sports officiating for working his 2,633rd consecutive game. Bavetta’s officiating career includes the Eastern League/CBA (1966-1975), Rucker Park Summer League (1966-1986), the Jersey Shore Basketball League (1972-2007), FIBA (1980-1992), and the NBA (1975-2014). He officiated 270 career NBA playoff games in 29 consecutive seasons, including 27 NBA Finals games. He was the first NBA official to referee the Olympic Games (1992).

Additionally, Tom Heinsohn was inducted thanks to a veterans committee vote:

A 1986 inductee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a Player, Heinsohn will be just one of four people to be inducted as both a Player and Coach. The double honor is shared with Bill Sharman, John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens. Heinsohn coached the Boston Celtics after the retirement of Bill Russell from 1969 to 1978 winning two NBA Championships (1974, 1976). He was named NBA Coach of the Year in 1973 after leading his team to a league best 68-14 record. He accumulated a career coaching record of 427-263 (.619). Since retiring as coach of the Celtics, he has remained with the organization as color commentator and studio analyst for television broadcasts.

There were four other direct inductions:

From the ABA Committee:

LOUIS “LOUIE” DAMPIER [Player] – Dampier is one of a few players to play all nine seasons the ABA was in existence (1967-1976). He is one of two men to have played all nine seasons with one team, the Kentucky Colonels. Dampier finished first all-time in the ABA in games played (728), minutes played (27,770), points scored (13,726), and assists (4,044). An ABA Champion in 1975, he was also named a seven-time ABA All-Star (1968-70, 1972-75), a member of the ABA All-Rookie First Team (1968) and a member of the ABA All-Time Team. Prior to the ABA, Dampier played three seasons at Kentucky where he was a Second-Team All-American twice and an Academic All-American once. Upon graduation, he was ranked third all-time in points scored for the Wildcats. Dampier concluded his professional career with the San Antonio Spurs of the NBA after the ABA merger in 1976.

 

From the International Committee:

LINDSAY GAZE [Coach] – Gaze, a native of Adelaide, South Australia, has represented his country in seven Olympics as both a player and coach.  He played for the Australian national team in 1960, the first year Australia sent a team to the Olympics, as well as 1964 and 1968. He then coached the Australian national team in the following four Olympic games (1972, 1976, 1980, 1984). Gaze coached the Melbourne Tigers of the NBL winning two championships (1993,1997). He was named Coach of the Year for the National Basketball League three times (1989, 1997, 1999). Gaze is a member of the Australian Basketball Hall of Fame and FIBA Hall of Fame.

 

From the Early African American Pioneers Committee:

JOHN ISAACS [Player] – John “Wonder Boy” Isaacs played professionally for the New York Renaissance leading them to a 112-7 record and the first-ever World Professional Basketball Tournament Championship in 1939. He later played for a number of professional outfits including the Washington Bears, where he won a second World Pro title. Isaacs was named to the World Professional Basketball Tournament Second Team (1943). Along with fellow Hall of Famer and former teammate William “Pop” Gates, Isaacs pioneered the “motion offense.” Isaacs passed away on January 26, 2009 and is an enshrinee of the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame (1992).

 

From the Contributor Direct Election Committee:

GEORGE RAVELING [Contributor] – Raveling is the current Director of International Basketball for Nike and a former men’s college basketball coach. He served as an assistant coach at his alma mater Villanova (1963-69) and then Maryland (1970-72) where he helped lead the 1970-71 Terrapins to an undefeated regular season. As a Head Coach, Raveling led Washington State University (1972-83) to two NCAA tournament appearances and Iowa (1983-86) to back-to-back 20-win seasons. He also took USC (1986-94) to two NCAA appearances and was named Kodak National Coach of the Year (1992), Basketball Weekly Coach of the Year (1992), Black Coaches Association Coach of the Year (1992) and CBS/Chevrolet National Coach of the Year (1994). In 1984 and 1988, Raveling served as an assistant coach for the U.S. Olympic teams. Raveling was the first African-American coach in the ACC and PAC-8 (now the PAC-12). He is not only known for making history by breaking down racial barriers as a coach, but also was a part of history when in 1963 he received the original copy of the Martin Luther King Jr., “I Have a Dream” speech. He was honored with the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013.

Lastly, here are the five other finalists:

JOHN CALIPARI [Coach] – Calipari is a two-time Naismith College Coach of the Year (1996, 2009) and eight-time Conference Coach of the Year (1993,1994,1996, 2006, 2008-10, 2012), He coached University of Massachusetts from 1988-1996 and won five Atlantic 10 regular season championships and five Tournament championships (1992-1996). Calipari then coached University of Memphis from 2000-2009 and won four Conference USA regular season championships (2004, 2006, 2007, 2009), three C-USA Tournament championships (2006, 2007, 2009) and the NIT Tournament (2002). With the University of Kentucky since 2009, he has won two SEC regular season championships (2010, 2012), two SEC Tournament championships (2010, 2011) and an NCAA Championship (2012). Calipari has led his teams to six Elite Eight Appearances (2006, 2007, 2009-12, 2014) and three NCAA Final Four appearances (2011, 2012, 2014).

BO RYAN [Coach] – A native of Chester, Pennsylvania, Ryan has been named the Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (2002, 2003, 2013) since he began coaching at University of Wisconsin in 2001. Prior to Wisconsin, he coached at University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1999-2000) and University of Wisconsin-Platteville (1984-1999) where his team won four NCAA Division III Championships (1991, 1995, 1998, 1999). Ryan has led Wisconsin to three Big Ten regular season championships (2002, 2003, 2008), two Big Ten Tournament championships (2004, 2008), and the NCAA Final Four (2014). He was a recipient of the Clair Bee Coach of the Year Award (2007), NABC Outstanding Service Award (2009) and Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award (2013).

LISA LESLIE [Player] – Leslie is an eight-time WNBA All-Star (1999-03, 2005, 2006, 2009) and a three-time WNBA Most Valuable Player (2001, 2004, 2006).  A native of Gardena, California, she played for University of Southern California (1990-1994) where she was named the Consensus National Player of the Year, a Kodak All-America and Naismith Trophy winner in 1994. She holds Pac-10 career records for scoring (2,414) and rebounding (1,214). She is the WNBA all-time leader in total rebounds (3,307) and ranks second all-time in WNBA total blocks (822). With the Los Angeles Sparks, Leslie won two WNBA Championships (2001, 2002) and she is a four-time Olympic Gold Medalist (1996, 2000, 2004, 2008). She is the first player to dunk in a WNBA game.

ROBERT HUGHES [Coach] – Hughes coached high school basketball in Texas for 47 years and ranks first on the all-time wins list for boy’s high school coaches. He has compiled an overall high school coaching record of 1,333-247 (.844) and led his teams to 35 district championships and five state championships. He served as head coach of the McDonald’s All-America Game West team (2001). Hughes was named the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year (2003) and recipient of the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award (2010). He has been inducted into the Texas Basketball Hall of Fame (1993) and High School Basketball Hall of Fame (2003).

LETA ANDREWS [Coach] – Andrews has coached high school basketball for over 50 years and is the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female. She has coached five high schools in Texas since 1962 and has led them to sixteen state Final Four appearances, plus a state championship in 1990. Andrews has served as Head Coach of the McDonald’s All-America Game West team (2004) and Gatorade All-America Game West team (2009). She was named the NHSCA National High School Coach of the Year (2007) and recipient of the Morgan Wootten Lifetime Achievement Award (2007). She has been inducted into the High School Basketball Hall of Fame (1995) and Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (2010).

Chris Paul on 2020 Olympics: My wife wants to go to Tokyo

Chris Paul
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Chris Paul feels great starring for the Thunder.

So great, he might even take on extra workload.

Paul – who helped Team USA win gold medals in 2008 and 2012 but didn’t compete in 2016 – said he’s “very serious” about playing the 2020 Olympics. Paul:

I’m excited about the opportunity. My wife is sort of calling the shots on this one. She said she wants to go to Tokyo.

I’ve been blessed and fortunate to play in 2008. I had no kids then. In 2012, my wife couldn’t come, because, four days after the gold medal game, she had my daughter.

We often hear about players missing international tournaments due to personal reasons. But that can go both ways. Paul might compete due to personal reasons.

Paul faces steep and deep competition for making the team at point guard: Stephen Curry, Damian Lillard, James Harden, Kyrie Irving, Kyle Lowry, Russell Westbrook, Kemba Walker, Mike Conley, Malcolm Brogdon, Derrick White. Trae Young didn’t even make the list of finalists.

USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said players who’ve previously represented the U.S. will get favorable consideration. So, that’ll help Paul.

If he plays, Paul – who turns 35 in May – would be Team USA’s third-oldest Olympian:

Chris Paul

Age for Team USA’s first game or, in 2020, first game of the tournament

Did John Beilein’s methods lead to Dylan Windler’s season-ending injury?

Former Cavaliers coach John Beilein and Dylan Windler
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John Beilein gave the Cavaliers problems mentally.

Did he also give them problems physically – especially Dylan Windler, who’s missing his entire rookie year?

Shams Charania, Jason Lloyd and Joe Vardon of The Athletic:

Warning signs for Beilein could be traced to the Cavs’ Summer League schedule, when the rookie coach ran a collection of (mostly) G Leaguers and non-roster invites through extended practices, multiple times a day. This is precisely what Beilein would have done at Michigan, especially with an entirely new batch of players, this early in a season calendar. But players not only complained about the work, they also were drilled in games by opponents who were clearly well-rested. And this was in Summer League.

There was at least one player, though, involved in those early summer workouts under Beilein who was expecting to make a major contribution to the Cavs this season. Rookie Dylan Windler, a late first rounder, was supposed to compete with Cedi Osman for minutes on the wing. But he never played a game this season because of a stress injury in his left leg — which could be traced back at least in part to being overworked during the summer.

Would Windler have missed the season under a different coach? It’s impossible to say. Counterfactuals are complex.

But there was legitimate reason to be concerned with Beilein’s approach. Teams have learned the importance of rest. Fatigued players are more susceptible to injury.

Beilein’s longest college season was 41 games. He coached 54 games in Cleveland – and left with much of the season remaining.

Handling the grind of the NBA season was always going to be an adjustment for the long-time college coach. It probably got understated amid concern about him relating interpersonally to his players.

The Cavaliers needed practice time. They needed work to develop. That’s clearly what Beilein prioritized.

But they also needed to limit the physical toll, and it’s reasonable to question whether Beilein did enough there. Even if he was learning that the NBA is more marathon than sprint, the several months Beilein coaches the Cavs were enough to cause issues.

Bucks’ minor-league coach suspended two games for rant (video)

Bucks minor-league coach Chase Buford
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Chase Buford, who coaches the Bucks’ minor-league affiliate, went on an epic rant after the Wisconsin Herd’s latest loss. He singled out referee Matt Rafferty as a “f—ing clown” and said the officials were “bad and biased and unfair and illegal and cheating.”

Ryan Rodig of WFRV-TV:

G League release:

Wisconsin Herd head coach Chase Buford has been suspended for two games without pay for a direct and extended public attack on the integrity and credibility of the game officials.

I can’t recall an NBA coach ever getting suspended for something he said during a press conference.

I also can’t recall an NBA coach ever saying something so inflammatory during a press conference.

In 2005, then-NBA commissioner David Stern threatened to ban Jeff Van Gundy from the NBA after the then-Rockets coach criticized officiating. That incident still led to just a $100,000 fine. Twice as large as any previous fine for a coach. But still just a fine, nonetheless.

Watch entire Kobe Bryant memorial service (video)

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The public memorial for Kobe Bryant and Gianna Bryant featured several unforgettable moments, including:

But I can’t overstate how well done the entire event was, how heartfelt the speakers and performers were. If you missed it yesterday and are in the right headspace, it’s worth watching to get a more complete understanding of Kobe and Gianna.