Mutombo, Leslie Head Hoop Hall Class of 2015

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Mutombo

By Stephen Laroche | Beckett Media

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will be growing once again in 2015 and its newest members were announced yesterday. Among those elected were eight-time NBA All-Star and defensive standout Dikembe Mutombo and WNBA icon Lisa Leslie.

For many longtime collectors, there are plenty of memories of Mutombo’s arrival in the NBA back in 1991-92 and over his first 10 seasons, he was named the league’s Defensive Player of the Year four times. Leslie is regarded as one of the greatest players in WNBA history and also helped lead the United States to four straight Olympic gold medals between 1996 and 2008.

Joining them will be iconic names from the past in Spencer Haywood and Jo Jo White along with celebrated coach John Calipari and iron man official Dick Bavetta, who blew the whistle in 2,635 consecutive games before retiring last year.

Who else will be officially inducted in September? Find out after the jump.

Bavetta

“The Class of 2015 is a group of outstanding individuals who represent many eras and facets of basketball,” noted Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board, in a press release. “Their commitment to the game is undeniable and the impact they have had on others is even greater. We are very pleased to honor this remarkable group of inductees.”

During the 2015 NBA All-Star Weekend, additional inductees were directly elected by several committees and that group had a tremendous impact on the game over the years. The ABA Committee chose former Kentucky Colonels star Louis Dampier while the Early African American Pioneers Committee recognized the accomplishments of John Isaacs, who helped take the New York Renaissance to the first World Professional Basketball Tournament Championship back in 1939.

While Tom Heinsohn was inducted as a player back in 1986, his coaching career has made him just the fourth person to also be inducted for his work from behind the bench thanks to the efforts of the Veterans Committee. The International Committee took notice of the career of Australian icon Lindsay Gaze, who represented his nation at the Summer Olympics on seven occasions as both a player and coach. Finally, former trailblazing collegiate coach and current Director of International Basketball for Nike, George Raveling, was recognized for his contributions to the game.

As the full class was announced, Panini America showed off special cards of each inductee via its Twitter feed and these cards may make an appearance a few months from now at events related to the Hall of Fame’s induction weekend. While most of this class has appeared on trading cards over the years, both Bavetta and Isaacs are expected to be making their cardboard debuts soon.

Stephen Laroche is the editor of Beckett Hockey and a contributor to Beckett Basketball. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an e-mail to him at slaroche@beckett.com. Follow him on Twitter @Stephen_Laroche.

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1 comment

  1. Mitch 14 April, 2015 at 12:11

    Very excited about these cards! Hoping for a supplement 2009-10 Panini Basketball Hall of Fame card set in the near future. Design is very clean and sharp!

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