NBA icons Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and Grant Hill lead the 2018 Naismith Memorial National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday.
The trio were part of an impressive list of 13 inductees that was heavy on point guards – with Canadian Nash and Americans Allen and Kidd all enjoying record-setting careers.
Nash went from being a unscouted high school phenom from the basketball backwoods of Victoria, British Columbia, to an eight-time All-Star, while Kidd and Hill were co-rookies of the year in 1994/95 before going on to play a combined 37 seasons in the NBA.
The six-foot-three Johannesburg-born Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004/05 and 2005/06 and led the league five times in assists.
His 18-year-career included finishing sixth on the all-time assist list.
“I was never supposed to be here,” said Nash, who was drafted by the Phoenix Suns 15th overall in 1998 and went on to play for the Dallas Mavericks for six years before returning to the Suns where he played for eight more years before finishing his career with the Los Angeles Lakers from 2012-15.
“The secret is to build the resolve and spirit to enjoy the plateau. Never stop striving to reach your goals.”
Nash was born in South Africa before the family moved to Vancouver Island. He switched schools halfway through high school but failed to attract the attention of American college scouts, sending his demo tape off to 30 schools but getting no takers.
He finally landed one scholarship offer from Santa Clara University in California and the unlikely journey was under way.
“Nobody really liked what they saw on those tapes,” Nash said. “But what they couldn’t see on the tapes was the relentless obsession and work ethic that would not diminish in 20 plus years.”
He finished with averages of 51.8 per cent shooting from the field, including an NBA record 90.4 per cent from the free-throw line.
His influence on Canadian basketball cannot be overstated, says hockey icon Wayne Gretzky. “I think he was a huge influence on all these kids,” Gretzky said in a video tribute to Nash.
“Coast to coast, Vancouver to Newfoundland, he gave them the opening and ability to believe they could play in the NBA.”
The 10-time All-Star Kidd climbed to number two all-time in assists during his 19-year playing career that included winning the 2011 NBA title with the Mavericks. The point guard is No2 on the all-time steals list.
Seven-time All-Star Hill made the NBA first All-Star team in 1996/97. He won back-to-back US college national titles at Duke University in 1991 and 1992.
Another inductee was Ray Allen, a 10-time All-Star, who helped the Boston Celtics win a championship in 2008 and then won it with the Miami Heat in 2013.
He made more three-point shots (2,973) than anyone in history.
“I don’t believe in talent,” Allen said. “I am here because I worked hard my whole life.
“So for kids aspiring to be like one of us, put the work in. What an amazing class I am part of. I am humbled and honored to sit here and be part of class of 2018.”
The rest of the class included former players Maurice Cheeks, Dino Radja and Charlie Scott and ex-college coach Charles “Lefty” Driesell.
Tina Thompson and Katie Smith were also enshrined as was Ora Mae Washington, who started her sporting career playing basketball before starring in tennis too.
Former player, coach and executive Rod Thorn and Golden State Warriors’ chief operating officer Rick Welts completed the list.
One of basketball’s pioneers is leaving the sport he not only gave so much to, but did so in a one-of-a-kind way.
Manu Ginobili announced his retirement on Monday, bringing a close to a stellar career that spanned 23 years and three different continents.
The Argentine’s exit also closes the chapter on the San Antonio Spurs dynasty, of which Ginobili was the last remaining relic other than head coach Gregg Popovich.
While Tim Duncan was the backbone of the dynasty, Ginobili was the player who added the missing elements that gave the Spurs the spice they needed – creativity, fearlessness and a unique, incomparable style of play.
Today, with a wide range of feelings, I'm announcing my retirement from basketball. IMMENSE GRATITUDE to everyone (family, friends, teammates, coaches, staff, fans) involved in my life in the last 23 years. It's been a fabulous journey. Way beyond my wildest dreams. pic.twitter.com/3MLCUtmd6K— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) August 27, 2018
His ability to do practically everything on a basketball court, and do it in a way that exuded joy and revealed his genius, made him one of the most fascinating players to watch in the league. He was hardly ever conventional, providing a touch of magic and unpredictability to the Spurs’ machine-like perfection.
The Eurostep, for example, is a move Ginobili revolutionised, paving the way for stars to adapt and integrate it into their arsenal.
His no-look passes, dance-like footwork and knack for dazzling were juxtaposed with an insatiable desire to win, which saw Ginobili sacrifice more than anyone during the Spurs’ run for the chance to raise banners to the rafters.
His career averages of 13.3 points, 3.8 assists and 3.5 rebounds hardly suggest a Hall of Fame career, but Ginobili’s brilliance was never told through his numbers. He willingly accepted a sixth man, coming off the bench in 708 of the 1,057 games he played in, despite possessing all the talent of a starter.
Ginobili was everything San Antonio needed him to be, while at the same time being everything they didn’t always know they needed.
And that was just in his NBA career. His resume, which is headlined by four NBA titles, also features a EuroLeague crown, EuroLeague Finals MVP, Italian League championship, Italian Cup MVP and a gold medal won at Athens in 2004.
Basketball will miss Ginobili, not just for what he accomplished, but because there will never be another one like him.
Denver Nuggets centre/power forward Plumlee and a great supporting coaching staff from the US, including Doug Young, former director of the Kobe Bryant Basketball Academy, are hosting a four-day youth development programme as well as youth and adult 3×3 basketball tournaments you can get involved in this week.
Former Duke Blue Devils standout Plumlee, along with his pro team – US coaches from well-established high schools and colleges – will take the campers through the high-intensity, drill based four-day US training programme.
Each attendee receives a camp t-shirt, photo with Plumlee and a certificate of participation.
The MVP from the camp, meanwhile, gets the glittering grand prize of a paid trip to the Nike Basketball Camp in the US.
Participants will range from six to 18-years-old for the four-day camp, which runs from Tuesday, August 28 to August 31 at AFLEC School (Lycee Francais International de Dubai) on Oud Metha Road.
The camp culminates in a youth 3×3 tournament on Friday, with the tournament designed for boys and girls of three age categories: 8-10-years-old; 10-12-years-old and 12-16. All participants get a complimentary t-shirt.
The winning team receives a Nike basketball and apparel set, including shorts, t-shirt, socks and gets to play against Plumlee and his team.
Plumlee’s visit to the Emirates ends on September 7 with an adult 3×3 tournament, designed for the male players 17 years and above.
Each participant receives a complimentary t-shirt.
The lucky winners get Dh3,000, the runners-up will earn Dh2,000 while there is also Dh1,000 up for grabs for third place. The champions will also get to play a friendly match with Plumlee and his team. All games will take place at Lycee Francais International de Dubai.
As a freshman in 2009/10, the 28-year-old Plumlee was a back-up forward for the Duke Blue Devils basketball team’s national championship team, playing with his older brother Miles.
He was selected with the 22nd overall pick by the Brooklyn Nets in the 2013 NBA draft and has gone on to play for the Portland Trail Blazers, while he has been with the Nuggets since 2017.
He was also a member of the United States national team that competed in the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup, winning a gold medal.
What: Mason Plumlee summer camp and 3×3 basketball tournaments
Where: Aflec School
When: August 28-31 and September 7
Contact: Call +971 4 447 2394 or email [email protected]