Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023

by Last updated Feb 29, 2024Hall of Fame

“I love the class, I think this is a loaded class”

–  Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame during the Class of 2023 press conference, February 17, 2023, Salt Lake City, UT

Explore the legends of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023: Gene Bess, Pau Gasol, David Hixon, Gene Keady, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich, Dwyane Wade, Becky Hammon, Gary Blair, Jim Valvano, and the 1976 US Women’s Olympic Team.

NBA Presents: A The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced today, at NBA All-Star Weekend 2023, the selection of five coaches and seven players as Finalists from the North American and Women’s Screening committees. The Finalists will then be put forth to the Honors Committee to be considered for election as a member of the Class of 2023. Watch on YouTube

class of 2023 Enshrinement Ceremony

August 12, 2023 We at Baron® are grateful to have been a part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Enshrinement.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 Enshrinement Ceremony festivities were held on Friday & Saturday, August 11 & 12, 2023. The Class of 2023 featuring 12 members took place in Springfield, Mass., the Birthplace of Basketball.

Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced on February 17, 2023, at NBA All-Star Weekend 2023, the selection of five coaches and seven players as Finalists from the North American and Women’s Screening committees.

The Finalists had been put forth to the Honors Committee to be considered for election as a member of the Class of 2023.

To conclude the press conference, Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame shared some kind words.

“I think this is unique in that we have a lot of first-time people. It’s unusual when somebody makes it on the first ballot. But this is going to be that unique class because it could be 4-5 first-timers. We are excited about it and there are great stories attached to each of the individuals who are up for consideration.”

Colangelo continued about the Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony taking place in the newly renovated establishment.

“We are looking for a big-time August event in Springfield. We are excited about our building and all the things that have happened. We did a major remodel, and the technology is second to nothing. I think it is the most outstanding Hall of Fame in the country. We are going to have a big party in August. I’m looking forward to it.”

While the enshrinement ceremonies were moved up from September to August in 2023, Colangelo shares an insight as to what has affected the decision. 

“We moved things around based on schedules. This time around we are going with August it seems to fit in at the right time. September was a bit more difficult because of the competition.”

    19 Hall of Famers Presented Class of 2023

    Inductees of the 2023 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame were allowed to choose past honorees to join them and introduce them to their fellow peers.

    The decision rests entirely with the incoming Hall of Famers or their family members, especially in cases of posthumous recognition.

    Class of 2023 Enshrinement

    NORTH AMERICAN COMMITTEE:

    Gene Bess

    Presented by Chris Bosh (‘21),
    John Calipari (‘15), Roy Williams (‘07)

    Far away from the fabled centers of the basketball universe, in a small town tucked away near the Missouri bootheel, a junior college coach made history.

    Gene Bess coached at Three Rivers College where he picked up exactly 1,300 wins, the most in college basketball at any level at the time of his retirement in 2020.

    He was the first college basketball coach to reach 1,000 wins, and the milestones continued to pile up over the next 14 seasons. Under the direction of Bess, Three Rivers averaged 26 wins per season, appeared in the NJCCA tournament 17 times, and made four trips to the National Championship Game.

    View more details of Gene Bess’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Gene Bess

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Gene Bess delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023.  @OfficialHoophall

    Pau Gasol

    Presented by Toni Kukoč (‘21),
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (’95)

    Pau Gasol began playing professional basketball as a teenager for FC Barcelona Basquet in 1996.

    Gasol made an immediate impression with his unusual skill set for a big man. He could post up, pass, dunk, rebound, and shoot. Soon he was on the draft board of every NBA team.

    The Atlanta Hawks selected Gasol third overall in the 2001 NBA Draft, making him the highest pick from Europe at that time. Gasol then became the first non-American to win NBA Rookie of the Year.

    The six-time NBA All-Star won three medals in Olympic competitions with the Spanish national team and was a four-time European Player of the Year.

    View more details of Pau Gasol’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Pau Gasol

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Pau Gasol delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023  @OfficialHoophall

    David Hixon

    Presented by Jim Calhoun (‘05),
    John Calipari (‘15)

    When David Hixon arrived at Amherst College in the fall of 1971, basketball consumed his every thought.

    At age 24, Hixon accepted a position as the head men’s basketball coach at Amherst College. He never left his alma mater. In 42 seasons, Hixon won 826 games, eight conference titles, and two NCAA Division III National Championships.

    In 2007, the NABC named Hixon Division III Coach of the Year for leading his squad to a 30-2 record and the National title.

    In 2013, Hixon and Amherst duplicated the effort, again finishing 30-2 with the national title and the NABC Coach of the Year award.

    View more details of David Hixon’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of David Hixon

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: David Hixon delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Gene Keady

    Presented by Jerry Colangelo (‘04),
    Tom Izzo (‘16)

    Keady landed his first head coaching job at a small-town high school located about 100 miles to the north of his backyard in Larned, Kansas.

    Humble beginnings for a future seven-time Big Ten Coach of the Year. After bouncing around for several years, Keady eventually landed at Purdue University, where he coached for 25 seasons and found his forever home.

    Purdue won six Big Ten championships under Keady, including three in a row from 1994 to 1996.

    Keady was named the CBS National Coach of the Year twice during this same period. Keady was also named National Coach of the Year ten times during his career and often devoted the off-season to coaching for his country with USA Basketball.

    View more details of Gene Keady’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Gene Keady

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Gene Keady delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Dirk Nowitzki

    Presented by Jason Kidd (‘18),
    Steve Nash (‘18)

    Dirk Nowitzki played with Dallas Maverick for a record 21 seasons. Dirk and Dallas became synonymous, with a street named Nowitzki Way intersecting with Victory Ave near American Airlines Center.

    Nowitzki was a 14-time NBA All-Star, 12-time All-NBA selection, 2007 regular season MVP, and 2011 Finals MVP for leading Dallas Maverick to the franchise’s first NBA championship.

    The Wurzburg, Germany native changed the way a big man played the game. He stretched the floor, drove past defenders on the perimeter, and created separation with his fadeaway.

    The six-time Euroscar Player of the Year scored 31,560 career points to become the highest-scoring foreign-born player ever and helped change the way the NBA viewed European players.

    View more details of Dirk Nowitzki’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Dirk Nowitzki

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Dirk Nowitzki delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Tony Parker

    Presented by Manu Ginobili (‘22),
    Tim Duncan (‘20)

    Born in Belgium, but raised on the Bulls, Tony Parker spent nearly his entire career manning the point guard position for the San Antonio Spurs.

    He was the disciplined floor general, creative playmaker, and faster-than-lightning sparkplug who drove the Spurs to four NBA Championships during his prime.

    The Spurs thrived thanks to Parker, who on quick drives would find Tim Duncan or Manu Ginobili for open shots or crash his way into the paint pinball style for a circus shot of his own.

    Parker, Duncan, and Ginobili formed the most consistent Big Three in NBA history.

    In 2007, a veteran San Antonio squad survived the brutal Western Conference and rambled into the NBA Finals to face the up-and-coming Cleveland Cavaliers. The Cavs were no match for Parker as the Frenchman led the Spurs in scoring and was named Finals MVP for his efforts.

    View more details of Tony Parker’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Tony Parker

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Tony Parker delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Gregg Popovich

    Presented by David Robinson (‘09),
    Manu Ginobili (‘22), Tim Duncan (‘20),
    Tony Parker (‘23)

    A native of Indiana, and a product of the United States Air Force Academy, Gregg Popovich has quietly turned the San Antonio Spurs into one of the NBA’s most storied franchises.

    Armed with lineups that included David Robinson and Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili, Tony Parker, and Kawhi Leonard, and blessed with role players like Bruce Bowen, Sean Elliot, Robert Horry, and Avery Johnson, Pop blended his rosters of diverse personalities into cohesive units.

    The three-time NBA Coach of the Year has led the Spurs to five NBA Championships and collected more wins than any other coach in league history.

    Along the way, the stoic and steadfast pilot managed to win a gold medal at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, a considerable honor for a former Air Force cadet.

    A natural leader, and a developer of leaders, Popovich’s coaching tree includes the likes of Steve Kerr, Mike Budenholzer, Monty Williams, Mike Brown, and trailblazer Becky Hammon.

    View more details of Gregg Popovich’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Gregg Popovich

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Tony Parker delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Dwyane Wade

    Presented by Allen Iverson (‘16)

    In the spring of 2003, as college basketball’s blueblood programs marched through the NCAA Tournament, a do-it-all guard from Marquette University danced his way into tournament lore.

    Dwyane Wade was drafted by the Miami Heat in the historic 2003 NBA Draft.

    By his second season, he was already one of the top players in the League.

    His 42, 36, 43, and 36-point outings in the final four games of the 2006 NBA Finals gave Miami Heat its first NBA Championship. Wade was named Finals MVP.

    In 2008, Wade earned his second Olympic medal, this time gold as a member of the so-called Redeem Team. Back in Miami, the perennial All-Star helped lure LeBron James and Chris Bosh to South Beach in pursuit of more hardware.

    View more details of Dwyane Wade’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Dwyane Wade

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Dwyane Wade delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Women’s Committee

    Becky Hammon

    Presented by Sheryl Swoopes (‘16)

    In the spring of 1999, Becky Hammon and her backcourt counterpart Katie Cronin led the Colorado State Rams to the Sweet Sixteen of the NCAA Tournament, a first for the women’s basketball program at Colorado State.

    Hammon played 16 seasons, split evenly between New York Liberty and San Antonio as a Silver Star.

    She was a six-time All-Star, led the WNBA in assists per game in 2007, and earned four nods to the All-League team.

    Four times Hammon helped a franchise to the WNBA Finals and six times she led the league in free throw percentage.

    By the end of her career, Hammon was honored as one of the WNBA’s all-time greats earning her spot on the Top 15 in 2011, the Top 20 in 2016, and the W25 in 2021.

    View more details of Becky Hammon’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Becky Hammon

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Becky Hammon delivers her speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Gary Blair

    Presented by Teresa Weatherspoon (‘19),
    Van Chancellor (‘07)

    It only took seventeen days for Gary Blair and his Texas A&M Aggies to make quick work of five-storied programs in women’s basketball on the way to the 2011 NCAA national Championship.

    The outspoken Blair was a winner. He won three State Championships at South Oak Cliff, led Arkansas to a Final Four, captured 18 conference titles, and registered more than 850 wins during his career.

    He built programs at places where basketball was an afterthought and championed the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of female athletes for more than 50 years.

    View more details of Gary Blair’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Gene Bess

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Gary Blair delivers their speech upon being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Contributor Committee

    Jim Valvano

    Presented by John Calipari (‘15)

    On March 4, 1993, Jim Valvano walked on stage at the ESPY Awards to deliver the world his greatest moment yet.

    Jimmy V led the North Carolina State Wolfpack on an improbable and just as unforgettable run in the 1983 NCAA Tournament.

    Valvano’s Cardiac Kids swept through the ACC tournament and then won six more in a row, surviving and advancing all the way to the National Championship. NC State pulled off the impossible.

    A natural leader, Valvano understood the game, understood how to motivate players, and understood that the term underdog was little more than a misnomer for a group of kids he loved so dearly.

    Jim Valvano’s basketball life passed by in the blink of an eye, but his impact on the world is still being written. The V Foundation for Cancer Research has raised over $300 million in its mission to find Victory Over Cancer.

    View more details of Jim Valvano’s basketball career

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of Jim Valvano

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Jamie Valvano delivers their speech on behalf of Jim Valvanoupon their being enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Women’s Veterans Committee

    1976 US Women’s Olympic Team

    Presented by Ann Meyers (’93),
    Nancy Lieberman (‘96)

    When the United States Women’s National Team arrived at Montreal’s Olympic Village in the summer of 1976, the mission was clear: Turn women’s basketball into a major player in the world of sports.

    Backed by a roster that included Lusia Harris, Ann Meyers, and Nancy Lieberman, along with co-captains Pat Head (Summitt) and Juliene Simpson, and coached by Billie Moore and assisted by Sue Gunter, the Americans were poised to prove they belonged.

    Simpson orchestrated from the point. Harris led the team in scoring and rebounding. Meyers added 9 points and a team-high 5 assists per game.

    Nancy Dunkle poured in 13 points per contest. The underdog

    Americans took three out of five games in the round-robin tournament to secure the silver medal. These trailblazers, pioneers, and forerunners ushered in the dawn of a new era for women’s basketball.

    View more details of 1976 US Women’s Olympic Team

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Class Of 2023 Inductee Ring of 1976 US Women’s Olympic Team

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Juliene Brazinski Simpson delivers their speech on behalf of the 1976 US Women’s Olympic Team as they are enshrined to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the class of 2023. @OfficialHoophall

    Award Winners

    Curt Gowdy Award for Electronic Media: Holly Rowe

    Curt Gowdy Award for Print Media: Marc Spears

    Curt Gowdy Award for Transformative Media: CBS Sports College Basketball 

    John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award: Tom Konchalski 

    The Mannie Jackson Award: PeacePlayers

    Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Presents: Take in the sights and sounds as the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 is Enshrined. @OfficialHoophall

    CLASS OF 2023 AND AWARD WINNERS

    Hats off to the inductees of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 and to all those honored with awards!

    Baron® recognizes the multitude of achievements that have left a lasting impact on the basketball community by the entire 2023 Class.

    Your commitment to guiding and mentoring basketball players, and empowering them to achieve success, has now truly been commemorated.

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    Let us know on our Facebook and Twitter your favourite moment of the ceremony. Which 2023 Inductee’s acceptance speech stood out the most to you?

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