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Michael Jordan headlines FIBA HOF Class

The Basketball Hall of Fame has always been a focus of ours but we have never really aid a lot of attention to the FIBA Hall of Fame.  It is next to impossible not to notice it this year, as the largest name in the sport’s history will be joining their Hall of Fame.

Michael Jordan, who led the 1992 United States Dream Team in Barcelona to Gold at the Olympics will be the undeniable headliner for this year’s class.  Jordan also was a member of the 1984 team that won Gold in Los Angeles.  MJ was also a member of the United States team that won Gold at the 1983 Pan American Games and the FIBA Americas Championship in 1992.

Jordan is joined by another American, current Connecticut Sun Head Coach, Anne Donovan.  Donovan is a two time Gold Medalist (1984 & 1988) and won two more Gold Medals as an Assistant Coach (2004) and Head Coach (2008).

The rest of the class consists of:

Roberto Herrera Tabio, a Cuban Forward whose highlight was leading his team to a Bronze Medal at the 1972 Olympics in Munich.

Sarunas Marciulionis, a Lithuanian Guard, who was a Gold Medalist for the Soviet Union in 1988 and was named as one of FIBA’s 50th Greatest Players in 1991.  The former Golden State Warrior won two Olympic Bronze Medals for Lithuania.

From France, Antoine Rigaudeau will also be enshrined.  The French Center took France to a Silver Medal at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

From Ukraine, via the Soviet Union, Vladimir Tkachenko will enter the Hall.  He is a two time Gold Medalist (1976 & 1980) with the Soviets and is a former Mr. Europa. 

They are joined by Australian Coach, Jan Stirling, French Technical Official, Robert Blanchard and Isreali Contributor, Noah Klieger. 

The enshrinement ceremony will take place on September 19, followed by an official presentation during half time at the Eurobasket Championship Game the following day.

30. Horace Grant

Horace Grant was not a stat accumulator; he was a winner.  After a stellar career at Clemson University where he was named ACC MVP, Grant was selected as the tenth pick of the 1987 draft.  Grant was a key member of the first three title runs the Bulls had in the early 90's.  He was the 3rd option on offense but was really their main low post defender.  A very athletic power forward that could bang with the big guys and run with smaller guys, Grant would become the prototype that others would follow. 

60. Ron Harper

Ron Harper was a great basketball player who knew what it took to win.  The greatest player ever to come from the Miami of Ohio, Harper was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers and was the perfect complimentary player on some sensational professional teams.  Unlike most complimentary players, Harper was once a superstar.  He averaged 24 points and 11 rebounds in his collegiate career and was second in Rookie of the Year voting.  Injuries cut back on his skill but Harper did not give in and became a huge part of the Bulls teams in the late 90’s.  He then followed Coach Phil Jackson to Los Angeles to the Lakers and won two more titles.  13,000 career NBA points tells you he could play and five rings tell you he was a winner.  What more do you need?

62. Bob Love

“Butterbean” Bob Love has one of the coolest names ever and for sure one of the coolest nicknames.  Oh and did we mention that he was a pretty good forward too?  Teaming with Chet Walker for the Bulls in the 70s, this forward combo may have been one of the best ever.  Love was a great scorer who could really get to the hoop; and if you played under Dick Motta as he did, then of course you played defense.  Love’s career is a story of perseverance.  Coming from tiny Southern University he was cut from the NBA on his first try and went down to the Eastern League to gain experience.  It took being drafted in an expansion draft by the Bulls and Motta’s confidence in him before he would become a star.  He averaged 17.6 points a game in his career and was a three time All-Star and twice made all league second team.  His chances of getting in rely on Walker and the rest of his Bulls teammates getting recognition.  If Chet Walker gets in, it might open the door to this superb forward getting some attention.

66. Reggie Theus

How many other players can say they are one of the top 50 all time scorers as well as top 25 all time in assists. And how many of these are shooting guards?  Well the answer would be two.  Jerry West is one of them.  Yes, that Jerry West, the image behind the NBA emblem for the last 30 years. And the other guy?  Well that would be none other than one Reggie Theus.  I am pretty sure Mr. West got into the hall in his first year of eligibility.  As for Mr. Theus?  Well he’s still waiting.  Why you may ask? 

76. Bob Boozer

Bob Boozer was an unsung and almost forgotten forward who was a two time All-American at Kansas State and a key member of the Milwaukee Bucks championship team run in 1971. Fifteen points a game with eight boards are not incredible but they are solid numbers and his long career should help.  He also sat out the 1959 season playing AAU basketball over the NBA so he could still be eligible for the 60 Olympic Games.  Boozer of course was MVP of the National tournament and led the Peoria Caterpillars to a national championship; that is Hall of Fame worthy isn’t it?

92. Charles Oakley

Charles Oakley was a key member of both the Bulls and Knicks in the 80’s and 90’s and built a solid reputation as a bruiser underneath.  He seemingly played forever and is high on some career accumulative stats such as games played and total rebounds but did not average double digits in either points or rebounds.  Sadly his legacy will be that of the guy who was traded right before the Bulls made their run and that fact alone should keep him out of the Hall.

97. Norm Van Lier

“Stormin” Norman was one of the most popular Bulls players ever.  Van Lier teamed with Jerry Sloan to form one of the most ferocious backcourts in league history.  The two super tough and defensive mined players were perfect compliments of each other.  He was a great assist man and tenacious defender who probably does not have the career statistics to get in but is a legend in Chicago.

100. Bill Cartwright

The image most of us have of Big Bill is getting an entry pass from the wing and throwing his turnaround jumper over some defender and watching it bounce around four or five times and go in; or of course elbowing someone in the face (inadvertently of course) while going for the rebound.  Bill Cartwright was the very definition of old school 70’s and 80’s basketball which carried over to the next decade.  It was also his trade from the Knicks for Charles Oakley that put the Bulls over the top and was the catalyst for the Bulls first three peat.  That seems to be forgotten for some reason.
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