By Owen Kaelble | @OwenKaelble
Sports Capital Journalism Program
NEW ORLEANS — The 2022 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class, with its nine inductees, was announced and introduced Saturday afternoon in the Caesars Superdome, home of the 2022 NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four. Hugh Evans, Bob Huggins, Tim Hardaway, George Karl, Theresa Shank Grentz, Marianne Stanley, Del Harris, Swin Cash and Lindsay Whalen were the nine that will officially be celebrated and inducted into the hall of basketball legends September 9 and 10 at Springfield, Mass.
Inductees into the 2022 class that were not present include four-time NBA champion and two-time All-Star Manu Ginobli, six-time NBA All-Star Lou Hudson, six-time NBA All-Star Larry Costello and FIBA Hall of Famer and Serbian professional basketball player Radivoje Korac.
The inductees that were present are a mix of players, coaches, and one long-time referee. Evans, who officiated in the NBA for 28 consecutive years, from 1973-2001, including 35 NBA Finals games, is the first official to be inducted into the hall of fame since 2016 when the late Darell Garretson joined the select group.
For the coaches, both men’s basketball and women’s basketball were well represented, with Huggins, Karl, and Harris on the men’s side and Grentz, Stanley and Whalen on the women’s side.
Huggins, who recently completed his 15th season as men’s basketball coach for the West Virginia Mountaineers, has been in coaching for 45 years and has led the Mountaineers to the NCAA tournament 10 times in his 15 seasons, including a Final Four appearance in 2010.
“I’m just so proud to be here,” said Huggins. “So proud to be here and so proud to be with this panel of inductees.”
On the professional side for the men, Karl and Harris have coached a combined 41 seasons in the NBA, both have been named the NBA Coach of the Year (Karl in 2013 and Harris in 1995) and both coached their way to an NBA Finals appearance (Karl in 1996 with the Seattle SuperSonics and Harris in 1981 with the Houston Rockets.)
“Having been born and growing up in Indiana when basketball was everything there it’s given me more than anything I could ever have imagined,” said Harris. “It’s taken me around the world and brought me to such a place as this.”
For the three women’s basketball coaches, two were college teammates. Grentz, who has coached women’s college basketball for over 40 years, and Stanley, current head coach for the Indiana Fever of the WNBA, were teammates at Immaculata University during the Mighty Macs’ run of back-to-back-to-back AIAW national championships from 1972-1974. This is not the first time Grentz and Stanley have been part of a Hall of Fame ceremony, as the Mighty Macs were inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.
“I feel so very fortunate with my experience over the years, to play at Immaculata with Theresa Grentz, my former teammate and co-inductee,” said Stanley. “To know that our coach Cathy Rush is a Naismith Hall of Famer who really gave us so much of the guidance and influence that helped us throughout our careers and also our lives. Just truly, truly fortunate beyond measure.”
Whalen, a Minnesota resident, also is the current head coach at the University of Minnesota, was born in Minnesota, played collegiately for the Minnesota Gophers, and is a four-time WNBA Champion (2011, 2013, 2015, 2017) for the Minnesota Lynx.
Joining Whalen on the stage was Cash, a fellow WNBA champion who won twice with the Detroit Shock (2003, 2006) and once with the Seattle Storm (2011). She also won the national championship twice as a collegiate athlete with the University of Connecticut Huskies in 2000 and 2002. She currently works as Vice President of Basketball Operations and Team Development for the New Orleans Pelicans.
Rounding out the nine appearing here was Tim Hardaway, a five-time NBA All-Star who played for 14 seasons, and has his jersey, No. 10, retired by the Miami Heat.
“(When I got the call) I started getting goosebumps, I started sweating, I started crying,” said Hardaway. “I went upstairs and hugged my wife, we cried together. Talked to my parents, we cried together. Talked to my friends, it was just tears all day that day.”