Nash, Allen among 13 to join Basketball Hall of Fame

New York (AFP) –


Former NBA stars Steve Nash, Ray Allen, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Maurice Cheeks will be among 13 people inducted Friday into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The honorees will be enshrined in ceremonies at the sporting shrine in Springfield, Massachusetts, near the game's birthplace, with a gala gathering of legends serving as presenters as well.

Other inductees will include Croatian player Dino Radja, college coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell, Women's NBA stars Tina Thompson and Katie Smith, contributors Rod Thorn and Rick Welts, pioneer Ora Mae Washington and 1970s star Charlie Scott.

"This is incredible to be here with this group," said two-time NBA Most Valuable Player Nash. "It's a Dream Team."

Canada's Nash, an eight-time NBA All-Star, ranks third in all-time NBA assists and has the highest career free-throw accuracy percentage, 90.4 percent, in league history over 19 NBA seasons.

Kidd, a 10-time NBA All-Star in his 18 campaigns, won an NBA crown with Dallas in 2011. He ranks second on the NBA all-time steals list with 2,684 and second on the career assists list with 12,091.

Allen won NBA titles with Boston in 2008 and Miami in 2013, with 10 All-Star nods in his 18 NBA seasons. He is the NBA career leader in 3-point baskets with 2,973 and won Olympic gold in 2000.

"I don't think as much about my career but the people that have gotten me to this point," Allen said.

Hill was a seven-time NBA All-Star in 19 league seasons and won Olympic gold in 1996.

"I'm still in disbelief," Hill said. "I'm truly humbled to be here."

Cheeks, who helped Philadelphia to the 1978 NBA title, was a four-time All-Star in 15 league seasons and is now an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder.

"I'm truly honored," Cheeks said. "As I look at all the pictures in the Hall, I realize how blessed I am to wear this (Hall of Fame) jacket."

Driesell is the only coach to win 100 games with four different US colleges and won 786 games.

Radja played on three consecutive European League championship teams and won Olympic silver with Yugoslavia in 1988 and Croatia in 1992 before playing four NBA seasons with the Boston Celtics.

Scott won an NBA title with Boston in 1972 and was the first African-American scholarship athlete at the University of North Carolina.

Thompson won four WNBA titles with Houston while Smith took two crowns with Detroit. Washington was a women's pioneer in the early 20th century segregation era, her teams losing only six times in 18 years, all to men's squads.

Thorn was a former NBA player, general manager with the Chicago Bulls when they selected Michael Jordan and served as the NBA executive vice president of basketball operations from 1986-2000 while Welts, now president of the Golden State Warriors, helped launch the WNBA, expand the NBA worldwide and raise the profile of the All-Star Game.