In the world of basketball, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is considered the ultimate honor.
On Saturday (Philippine time) Friday, the 12 finalists for the Class of 2023 were announced, and the list included several household names.
While some players and coaches have to wait years or even decades for their call to the Hall, some are considered “first-ballot types” and are almost guaranteed to make it in on their first try.
The four players who hit the ballot together wrapped up their NBA careers in 2019, and they hit that sweet spot between the game’s Mt.
Rushmore types and the outstanding performers who frequent All-Star Games and win annual awards.
As a group, Nowitzki, Wade, Gasol, and Parker amassed 39 All-Star appearances, 28 All-NBA selections, and eight championship rings.
In 11 of the 12 postseasons from 2003-14, one or more of the four reached the Finals.
HALL OF FAME FINALISTS. Pau Gasol and Dwayne Wade are among the 12 finalists of the Class of 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Naismith Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo, in an NBA report, said, “It’s unusual when somebody makes it on the first ballot. This is unique in that we have a lot of first-time people. But this is going to be that unique a class. There could be four or five first-timers.”
The NBA coach finally up for a vote this year is a Rushmore-level talent in his category.
Popovich worked in five of those 11 Finals, along with San Antonio’s championship run in 1999. With Parker up for the Hall to complete the trio of San Antonio greats who anchored the franchise’s most recent four NBA championships, Popovich relented.
The enshrinement weekend of Aug. 11-12 could have a noticeable silver-and-black motif.
Gasol, who spent the final three of his 18 seasons with San Antonio too, traced his NBA inspiration to watching the Dream Team in 1992. He was a 12-year-old growing up in Barcelona, Spain, when the Olympics and that uber-elite USA Basketball squad hit town.
“I was like, ‘Wow, these guys are incredible. I want to do that,’” he said during a press conference with Wade.
The seven-footer said he hopes his fans will still remember him.
“Played the right way. Played to win. Played to make the right decisions on the court, and made my teammates better. I didn’t care about scoring points. I just cared about making the right play and giving myself and my team the best chance to win.”
In the Class of 2023, several players have gone through the process before, including Chauncey Billups, Tom Chambers, Michael Cooper, Michael Finley, Mark Jackson, Marques Johnson, Maurice Lucas, and Shawn Marion, among others.
These players are excellent basketball players, but the walls of Springfield can be high to scale, and it may take them years, even decades, to get in.
The actual Class of 2023 won’t be announced until April 1 at the NCAA men’s Final Four in Houston. Inductees will have needed at least 18 votes from the 24-member selection panel.
Whether or not these first-time finalists will make it into the Hall of Fame remains to be seen, but they have undoubtedly made their mark on the game of basketball, and their legacies will continue for years to come.