Mu­tombo, White hon­ored in hall of fame

The China Post - - SPORTS -

African- born NBA l egend Dikembe Mu­tombo and fel­low NBA all-stars Spencer Hay­wood and Jo Jo White were among six peo­ple an­nounced Mon­day as 2015 in­ductees to the Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame.

Join­ing them in re­ceiv­ing the honor for ca­reer achieve­ments were 39-year NBA ref­eree Dick Bavetta, three-time U.S. col­lege coach of the year John Cali­pari and three- time Women’s NBA most valu­able player Lisa Les­lie.

All re­ceived at least 18 of 24 votes from the hon­ors com­mit­tee of the sport shrine, which will stage in­duc­tion cer­e­monies Sept. 11 at the Hall of Fame in Spring­field, Mas­sachusetts.

Also to be in­ducted this year are five pre­vi­ously an­nounced di­rect-elect hon­orees from var­i­ous Hall com­mit­tees, in­clud­ing long­time Aus­tralian player and coach Lind­say Gaze, early pi­o­neer John Isaacs, con­trib­u­tor Ge­orge Rav­el­ing, for­mer player and coach Tom Hein­sohn and 1970s stand­out Louis Dampier.

“The Class of 2015 is a group of out­stand­ing in­di­vid­u­als who rep­re­sent many eras and facets of bas­ket­ball,” said Hall of Fame board chair­man Jerry Colan­gelo.

“Their com­mit­ment to the game is un­de­ni­able and the im­pact they have had on oth­ers is even greater. We are very pleased to honor this re­mark­able group of in­ductees.”

Mu­tombo, an eight-time NBA All-Star and four-time NBA de­fen­sive player of the year from the Demo­cratic Repub­lic of Congo, led the league in blocked shots for five sea­sons in a row from 1993-94 to 1997-98, his side­ways fin­ger wag mo­tion af­ter blocks be­com­ing a trade­mark.

In an NBA ca­reer that spanned 18 sea­sons from 1991 to 2009, Mu­tombo scored 11,729 points, grabbed 12,359 re­bounds and blocked 3,289 shots.

Four- time All- Star Hay­wood from 12 NBA sea­sons from 1970 to 1983, scor­ing 14,592 points and pulling down 7,038 re­bounds and help­ing the Los An­ge­les Lak­ers win the 1980 NBA ti­tle. He was also the top scorer on the 1968 U.S. Olympic gold medal squad.

Seven-time NBA all-star White helped the Bos­ton Celtics win the 1974 and 1976 NBA crowns. He was the 1976 NBA Fi­nals most valu­able player and over 12 NBA cam­paigns av­er­aged 17.2 points, 4.9 as­sists and 4.0 re­bounds a game. He was also a mem­ber of the 1968 U.S. gold medal Olympic squad.

Bavetta of­fi­ci­ated 2,635 con­sec­u­tive regular- sea­son games over 39 years from 1975 to 2014, set­ting the U.S. iron­man pro sports ref­eree mark last April. He han­dled 27 NBA Fi­nals games and in 1992 be­came the first NBA of­fi­cial to ref­eree in the Olympics.

Cali­pari coached the Uni­ver­sity of Ken­tucky to an un­de­feated regular sea­son over the past few months be­fore the Wild­cats were beaten by Wis­con­sin on Satur­day in the U.S. col­lege tour­na­ment semi­fi­nals. He won his third coach of the year award in 2015.

Cali­pari cre­ated pow­er­house col­lege teams at Mas­sachusetts and Mem­phis be­fore tak­ing over Ken­tucky in 2009. The Wild­cats won the 2012 U.S. col­lege crown and this year reached the semi­fi­nals for the fourth time in five sea­sons.

Les­lie, an eight-time WNBA al­ls­tar and three-time WNBA most valu­able player, is the WNBA all­time leader in to­tal re­bounds with 3,307 and ranks sec­ond in all-time blocks with 822.

She be­came the first player to dunk in a WNBA con­test. Les­lie helped the Los An­ge­les Sparks win the 2001 and 2002 WNBA crowns and played on the 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008 U.S. Olympic gold medal teams.

AP

For­mer NBA player Spencer Hay­wood, from left, for­mer col­lege coach Ge­orge Rav­el­ing, Ken­tucky coach John Cali­pari, NBA ref­eree Dick Bavetta, for­mer ABA player Louie Dampier, for­mer NBA player Dikembe Mu­tumbo and for­mer NBA player Jo Jo White stand on stage dur­ing the Nai­smith Me­mo­rial Bas­ket­ball Hall of Fame class of 2015 an­nounce­ment in In­di­anapo­lis on Mon­day, April 6.

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