From Sept. 10-12, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be inducting 11 new members in its Class of 2015. Some of the biggest names in hoops history will be honored during the two-day event in Springfield, MA.
Some of the most notable names entering the HOF this season are University of Kentucky head coach John Calipari, eight-time NBA All-Star Dikembe Mutombo, seven-time NBA All-Star Jo Jo White, and three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie. Finalists had to receive 18 of the 24 honors committee votes to be inducted into the Hall.
Calipari is the only inductee that is currently active as a coach or player. Just this past March, his Kentucky Wildcats were awarded the No. 1 overall seed in the NCAA tournament, and advanced to the Final Four before falling to the University of Wisconsin. Calipari and his Wildcats won the 2012 National Championship game, and advanced to the 2014 National Championship Game before falling to the University of Connecticut. Calipari also advanced to the 2008 National Championship game as a coach of the Memphis Tigers.
The Congolese-born Mutombo played 18 seasons in the NBA for six different franchises. He won the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year award four times, and led the NBA in blocks in three different seasons. He received All-NBA honors in 2001, and was a two-time winner of the Walter Kennedy citizenship award. Additionally, Mutombo also helped engineer one of the greatest upsets in NBA playoff history when his Denver Nuggets, who entered the postseason as the No. 8 seed, took down the top-seeded Seattle Supersonics during the first-round of the 1994 Western Conference playoffs.
Leslie, meanwhile, is arguably the best women’s basketball player of all time. She won two WNBA Championships with the Los Angeles Sparks, and made eight All-WNBA first teams. She was also the first WNBA player to reach the 6,000-point mark in her career.
Calipari, Mutombo, and Leslie may be the most recognizable names to today’s fans, but all 11 of the candidates involved have greatly contributed to the game of basketball. For any basketball fan, this is a great way to reminisce about the game’s history.
For sure, diehard fans of the sport will certainly want to consider attending the latest class to be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Even if you’re located a far distance away, Hipmunk.com makes it easy for any fan to attend the proceedings, as they have cheap Boston flights from most major airline carriers. For anyone who wants to make a basketball vacation out of it, Hipmunk also has affordable hotel listings in Hartford that will have you situated about a half-hour away from Springfield, with rooms starting as low as $55.