Les­lie is elected to Hall of Fame

Los Angeles Times - - THE DAY IN SPORTS -

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.

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