untung99.biz: Dwyane Wade Gregg Popovich highlight Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony

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Dwyane Wade stood on the stage Saturday night as the time started to run out on his speech and the enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2023 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Resplendent in a white suit, he looked at his father, sitting in the front row at Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“I started this off thanking you, and I want to end it the same way,” Wade, a 13-time NBA All-Star and a three-time NBA champion, told his father in the crowded hall. “I owe you a debt of gratitude that I’ll never be able to repay.

“We had the same exact dream and we carry the exact name, Dwyane Tyrone Wade. To know we hustled all the way to the Basketball Hall of Fame is God’s will. So Pops, I know your knees are a little sore, but will you join me on stage as we take our rightful step into basketball heaven?”

The clapping began and grew louder as Wade’s father, wearing a mint green suit, climbed the stairs until he reached his son.

The two embraced.

“I love you and I’m thankful for you,” Wade told his father.

Replied his father, “I love you too man.”

As if in amazement, the retired NBA star told his father, “We in the Hall of Fame, dawg,” and then let out a cry of exultation.

On a night full of poignant moments, Wade delivered one of the most memorable. Here are some others:

Tony Parker draws big laughs

Tony Parker, who became the first Frenchmen to make the Basketball Hall of Fame, picked former teammate Tim Duncan as one of his presenters despite some awkward moments that involved Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

“He has a special power, superpower with his eyes,” Parker said. “… He never talked to get the ball. Never. He will just look at me. And when you 19 years old coming from France, it’s very scary when Tim Duncan looks at you.

“But Timmy will just look at me. And I’ll go to Pop and I’m like, ‘Pop, he give me the look.’ And the then Pop be like, ‘He really look at you?’ I like, ‘Yeah. If you want a point guard tomorrow, we need to call a play for him right now.”

Parker also said that Duncan, a power forward who was famously stoic, did not talk to him during Parker’s rookie year in 2001.

“And people think I’m crazy when I say that but it’s true,” Parker said, drawing laughter from the crowd. “Timmy don’t like French people. OK? He doesn’t like my French accent.

“It’s not until I play good in my rookie year against Gary Payton he finally say one word. Actually two words. Three words, I remember. Basically, ‘We’ll be all right.’

During the speech, Parker paid tribute to Popovich and recalled Popovich called him to the back of the team plane five games into his rookie year.

Looking at Popovich, Parker said, “And you was like, ‘You’re starting tomorrow.’ I was like, ‘Really? How’s that? Did you talk to Timmy?'”

The crowd roared. Parker continued.

“Yeah, cause I was still thinking he didn’t like French people, so it was like a little bit scary. And Pop’s like, you’ll be fine, you’re starting. And the rest is history.”

Pau Gasol pays tribute to Kobe Bryant

Pau Gasol looked heavenward during his speech while paying tribute to his beloved former Lakers teammate Kobe Bryant. They won back-to-back NBA titles together in 2009 and 2010.

“I wouldn’t be here without you brother,” Gasol said. “I wish more than anything that you and Gigi were here today with us.”

Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gigi were among eight people who died in a helicopter crash Jan. 26, 2020.

Bryant’s wife, Vanessa, was in attendance. She blew Gasol a kiss when he thanked her for being there.

Gasol also reflected on his first meeting with Bryant after being traded to the Lakers from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008. Gasol said Bryant texted him and wanted to swing by his hotel room once he got in. Gasol said when he told Bryant it would be well after midnight, the Lakers legend told his new teammate it wouldn’t be too late.

“He just wanted to make sure that right away, first hand, I got the message,” Gasol said. “He said, ‘Welcome to the team. I’m happy you’re here. Now let’s go win a championship together.’ I said, ‘All right, I’m in, man. I’m in. Have a good night.’ That was it. That was it. No crap. Straight to the chase.”

These women persevered on and off the court

The challenges for the 1976 U.S. Olympic team were not confined to the court before they won the silver medal during the Montreal Games, which hosted the first women’s basketball competition at the Olympics.

“As the 1976 Olympic games approached, more than 1,000 women attended the regional tryouts, paying their one way with the dream of making the team,” Juliene Brazinski Simpson, one of the team’s two captains, told the crowd. “There was no national training center. There was no Olympic development teams. No funding and definitely no air-conditioned gyms.’’

But there was a Dr. Mildred Barnes and Central Missouri State, which Simpson said she wanted to thank “for allowing the final tryouts and training to be held at their facility for free.”

She also thanked Bill Wall, former executive director of USA Basketball, who Simpson said gave his personal credit card to Billie Moore, the team’s head coach, to cover “every expense for our team.”

Becky Hammon, a six-time WNBA All-Star who now is head coach of the Las Vegas Aces, said she was able to be in Springfield to be enshrined only because Aces owner Mark Davis gave her use of his private jet.

How far one father went for his son

As Dwyane Wade noted, he began his speech with his father and wanted to end it the same way. Same with this story, which the former Miami Heat star will bring to close with another recollection involving his father.

“That time you got kicked out the game as my coach, and snuck back in the side door and coached me from the stands, to get kicked out again?

“It showed me that there was no limitations how you would show up for me. That’s the exact same way I try to show up for my kids.”