Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Basketball Hall of Fame class honors Nash, Kidd

AFP, LOS ANGELES

From left, Tina Thompson, Steve Nash and Ray Allen are inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday.

Photo: AFP

This year’s Basketball Hall of Fame class includes a sharp-shooting point guard from Canada and two NBA stars who shared both the rookie-of-the year award and the inductee podium at Friday’s ceremony.

Steve Nash went from being a unscouted high-school phenomenon from Victoria, British Columbia, to an eight-time All Star, while Jason Kidd and Grant Hill were rookies of the year in 1994-1995 before going on to play a combined 37 seasons in the NBA.

The trio were part of an impressive list of 13 inductees to the Naismith Memorial National Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I was never supposed to be here,” Nash said as he began his acceptance speech.

The same could likely be said for the other inductees, which included former players Maurice Cheeks, Dino Radja and Charlie Scott, and ex-college coach Lefty Driesell.

The inductee list was heavy on point guards, as Nash, Allen and Kidd all had record-setting careers.

Nash won back-to-back MVP awards in 2004-2005 and 2005-2006, and led the league five times in assists. In 18 years, he played in eight All-Star games and finished sixth on the all-time assist list.

“The secret is to build the resolve and spirit to enjoy the plateau. Never stop striving to reach your goals,” Nash said.

Nash was born in Johannesburg before the family moved to Vancouver Island on Canada’s west coast. He switched schools halfway through high school, but failed to attract the attention of US college scouts, sending his demo tape off to 30 schools, but getting no takers.

He finally landed a scholarship offer from Santa Clara University in California and the unlikely journey was under way.

“Nobody really liked what they saw on those tapes, but what they couldn’t see on the tapes was the relentless obsession and work ethic that would not diminish in 20-plus years,” Nash said.

He finished with averages of 51.8 percent shooting from the field, including an NBA-record 90.4 percent from the free-throw line.

His influence on Canadian basketball cannot be overstated, hockey icon Wayne Gretzky said.

“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 No. 2 all-time in assists during his 19-year playing career.

The point guard was rookie of the year with Hill and is No. 2 on the all-time steals list.

Seven-time All-Star Hill made the NBA first All-Star team in 1996-1997. He won back-to-back US college national titles at Duke University in 1991 and 1992.

Allen, a 10-time All Star, made more three-point shots (2,973) than anyone in history.

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