The initial ballot for the 2023 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class has been announced, and if it goes as expected, it could very well be Spurs-studded event. It has been known since the end of the 2018-19 season that this would be one of the most star-studded classes in history, as Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki and Dwayne Wade all announced their retirements, as well as former Spur Pau Gasol (who made the most of his career during his time with the Lakers), but head coach Gregg Popovich is the surprise inclusion on the ballot.
He has respectfully declined multiple other chances to be on the ballot, with most assuming he would wait until he retires. This is not to say his inclusion on the 2023 ballot points to potential retirement after this season, but it will likely fuel a new round of speculation. (It could just be he wanted to see his players go first, although he would be joining Parker in this case, but he wouldn’t be “ahead” of anyone.) Regardless, as the winningest coach in NBA history and winner of five championships, he is more than qualified.
Parker would be the third and final member of the Spurs Big Three to enter the Hall of Fame, with whom he won four championships, including the 2007 Finals MVP and was a six-time All Star. He, Nowitzki and Gasol were all part of the globalization of the NBA beginning in the early 2000’s, bringing their influences from France, Germany, and Spain, respectively.
Here is more information on the class courtesy of ESPN:
Also on the nominee list for the first time: the 1976 U.S. Olympic women’s team, the 1982 Cheyney University women’s basketball team that became the first from a historically Black college or university to play for an NCAA title, and Miami coach Jim Larrañaga — who recently won his 700th game and took George Mason on a historic run to the Final Four in 2006.
The finalists from the North American and women’s committees for the Hall of Fame will be announced at NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City on Feb. 17. The full class of Hall of Famers for 2023 will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in Houston on April 1, and enshrinement weekend will be Aug. 11-12 in Connecticut and the Hall’s home in Springfield, Massachusetts.