Pau Gasol, Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker and Gregg Popovich are now one step closer to basketball immortality.
The three great internationals – the Spanish Gasol, the German Nowitzki and the French Parker – appeared on the list of finalists for the class of 2023 presented on Friday by the Hall of Fame.
This placed them on the threshold of exaltation in the middle of this year. The list also includes Popovich, the coach with the most wins in NBA history —with the San Antonio Spurs—, as well as Dwyane Wade, part of three coronations with the Miami Heat.
“The important thing is the trip,” Gasol said. “This type of recognition, which is an amazing honor, comes when you do things very well for a long time and when you love what you do. I am simply privileged to have played this sport for so long, at such a high level and with incredible people who have taught me so much.”
The shortlist also includes four selections from the Women’s Committee—Jennifer Azzi, Olympic and world champion; Becky Hammon, WNBA champion coach, as well as Gary Blair and Marian Washington, team strategists for years.
The other finalists, from the North American Committee, include Gene Bess, who would be the coach with the most wins in college history, with 1,300; David Hixon, a two-time Division III national champion; and Gene Keady, a seven-time Big Ten conference coach of the year.
“I love this generation, I think it’s loaded with talent,” said Hall of Fame president Jerry Colangelo, who called it unusual that so many finalists get as far in their first year on the ballot as Wade did. Popovich, Gasol, Parker, Nowitzki and others.
“The class of 2023 will be remembered as one of the most distinguished ever inducted into the Hall of Fame, and we are extremely excited that this unparalleled collection of talent and accomplishments is one step closer to Springfield.” Colangelo added.