Leslie is elected to Hall of Fame
Lisa Leslie was surprised when she got the phone call that she was elected to the basketball Hall of Fame.
“I always thought you had to be much older to get in,” the 42-year-old Leslie said with a laugh Monday in a phone interview with the Associated Press.
Leslie was among 11 inductees selected for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this year. She was selected in the first year she was eligible after ending her 13-year WNBA career in 2009. She was a fourtime Olympic gold medalist for the United States, in 1996, 2000, 2004 and 2008. The first one, though, was the most special to her.
That 1996 gold helped jump-start the WNBA, which is starting its 19th season this summer. She won two titles with the Sparks and was named the league’s most valuable player three times.
Before her pro career, Leslie was a star player at Morningside High in Inglewood and at USC.
Joining Leslie in the Hall of Fame class were Kentucky Coach John Calipari , former NBA player Spencer Haywood , longtime referee Dick Bavetta , Celtics star Jo Jo White and Boston coach Tom Heinsohn , fourtime NBA defensive player of the year Dikembe Mutombo , former USC coach George Raveling , ex-Kentucky and ABA star Louis Dampier , Australian player and coach Lindsay Gaze and John Isaacs , an ex-player who will be inducted posthumously.
The induction ceremony is Sept. 10-12 in Springfield, Mass.
The NBA is set to become the first U.S. professional sports league to visit Cuba since President Obama ordered diplomatic relations between the countries to be restored.
The league will hold a three-day development camp and host clinics for youths April 23-26. Recently retired two-time most valuable player Steve Nash , Mutombo, and former WNBA star Ticha Penicheiro will take part, along with NBA coaches Quin Snyder of Utah and James Borrego of Orlando.
Phoenix Mercury guard Diana Taurasi has undergone successful surgery to repair a broken bone in her left hand that she hurt playing in a game for her Russian club team.