Nowitzki Expected to Make Hall of Fame

Dirk Nowitzki | Image by vipflash/Shutterstock

Dallas Mavericks legend Dirk Nowitzki is expected to be named to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023.

According to a report from ESPN, Nowitzki, former Miami Heat star Dwyane Wade, forward Pau Gasol, former San Antonio point guard Tony Parker, Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich, and former WNBA star and current Las Vegas Aces coach Becky Hammond will be among the names announced for enshrinement in 2023.

Nowitzki spent his entire 21-year career with the Mavericks, earning 14 All-Star selections and 12 All-NBA selections while playing over 1,500 games and leading the team to the 2011 NBA Championship over LeBron James and the Miami Heat.

Nowitzki had a unique playing style for a 7-footer and is the sixth-leading scorer in NBA history. The City of Dallas has also renamed a street by the American Airlines Center in his honor.

Wade was a member of the Miami Heat team that lost to Dallas in the 2011 NBA Finals. He entered the league out of Marquette in 2003 and quickly became a star. He spent 15 of his 17 NBA seasons with Miami, winning three league championships, appearing in 13 All-Star games, and leading the NBA in scoring during the 2008-09 season.

Wade is the Miami Heat all-time leader in games and minutes played, field goals, free throws, points, assists, and steals.

Gasol spent the first seven years of his career with the Memphis Grizzlies before joining the Los Angeles Lakers and eventually moving on to the San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls, and Milwaukee Bucks. He was a six-time All-Star and a member of the Lakers’ back-to-back NBA championship teams in 2009 and 2010.

Gasol also scored the most points of any Spanish-born NBA player with 20,894 — 8,380 more than his brother, Marc, who ranks second.

Parker was one of the leaders of the San Antonio Spurs during the golden years of the Gregg Popovich era. The point guard entered the NBA at 19 and played 18 seasons, 17 in San Antonio.

He is the Spurs’ all-time leader in assists and ranks second all-time in games played for the Spurs and fourth in points. While he played in France, Parker was also the first NBA player born in Belgium.

Coach Popovich is also heading into the Hall of Fame, according to the ESPN report.

Popovich has been with the San Antonio Spurs since 1988 and became the head coach in 1996. Since then, he has won 1,363 games — the most of any NBA coach — and five NBA Championships. He also led the 2020 USA Olympic Basketball Team to a gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

When asked about the possibility of joining the Hall of Fame in the same class as players like Nowitzki when the Spurs visited Dallas in February, Popovich told the media:

“If you got to go into the Hall of Fame with Dirk, you’re not worthy. He’s worthy; I’m not. The Hall of Fame is for people like Dirk, not me.”

Many see all the wins and titles and give all the credit to Popovich, but he gives all the credit to his teams and his players.

“I was there,” he remarked back in February. “I was there during all five, but I didn’t win them.”

The final member mentioned in the ESPN report, Hammon, is the head coach of the WNBA’s Las Vegas Aces, which won the WNBA Championship during her first year.

Before that, Hammon was a six-time WNBA All-Star who played 16 seasons with the New York Liberty and the San Antonio Stars. She ranks 15th all-time in WNBA scoring, played in the 14th-most games in league history, and spent eight years on Popovich’s staff with the Spurs before going to Las Vegas.

An official announcement will be made during Saturday’s Final Four in Houston, and the entire class will be enshrined at a ceremony in August.

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