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Basketball Hall of Fame headlines week’s news

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Last week, I talked about the postponement of the Summer Olympic Games and the NFL free agency. This week, my focus will be on the announcement of the 2020 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class.

Nine men and women will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. The list includes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Tamika Catchings and Patrick Baumann.

Let’s start first with Kobe Bryant. I think most of us remember where we were when we heard the news that he died in a helicopter crash. When I first heard it, I didn’t believe it. I was in complete denial.

Then I saw the story on ESPN and other news outlets. Slowly over time, it hit me. Kobe Bryant is gone.

I remember playing pick-up games with my friends and every time we would take a jumpshot, we would shout, “Kobe!” And then we would laugh as the ball bounced off the rim. Now those moments have more meaning.

Bryant was an 18-time NBA All-Star, 15-time member of the All-NBA team, 2008 MVP, five-time NBA champion and two-time NBA Finals MVP. He finished his legendary career with 33,643 points, 7,047 rebounds and 6,306 assists.

Bryant is still missed to this day and it’s going to be an emotional Hall of Fame induction ceremony when his name is introduced.

Tim Duncan is another legend I enjoyed watching growing up. To me, he was one of the best power forwards to ever play the game. He wasn’t flashy or did anything spectacular, but he was consistent and knew how to win.

Duncan finished his 20-year career with 26,496 points, 15,091 rebounds and 4,225 assists. Like Bryant, he is also a five-time NBA champion. He’s also a three-time NBA Finals MVP, two-time NBA MVP, 15-time All-star and 10-time member of the All-NBA team.

He was also a legend at Wake Forest University. He was inducted into the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017. He was a two-time All-American, two-time ACC Player of the Year and was the leading rebounder in the country in 1997.

My dad told me when I was young that Duncan was going to be a special player in the pros. He was definitely right about that.

Next up is Kevin Garnett. Along with Duncan, he is probably one of the other greatest power forwards of all time. It was fun seeing those two play against each other.

Garnett was one of the most intimidating basketball players on the court. He played with so much fire and passion. He was a joy to watch.

Garnett was a 15-time NBA All-Star, 2004 NBA MVP, 2008 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and also won an NBA championship that same season. He finished his career with 26,071 points, 14,662 rebounds and 5,445 assists.

I really loved watching Garnett and how he played defense against some of the most athletic men on the planet. His induction into the Hall of Fame is well deserved.

I don’t know much else about the other six men and women who were inducted, but I’ll give them some recognition.

Eddie Sutton was a college basketball coach who was the first person to take four different schools to the NCAA tournament. He was known as being a head coach for Creighton, Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State. He took Arkansas to the Final Four in 1978 and Oklahoma State twice in 1995 and 2004. He was named the College Coach of the Year in 1978 and 1986.

Rudy Tomjanovich was a player for the Houston Rockets and a coach for the Houston Rockets. He was a five-time NBA All-Star from 1974-77 and then again in 1979. As a coach, he led the Rockets to back-to-back NBA championships in 1994 and 1995.

Kim Mulkey is the current women’s basketball coach at Baylor University. She is the first person to win a national championship as a player, assistant coach and head coach.

She played at Louisiana Tech from 1980-84, winning a national title in 1982. She was an assistant coach for Louisiana Tech from 1985-96, winning a national championship in 1988.

She became the head coach at Baylor in 2000 and led her Bears to three national championships in 2005, 2012 and 2019.

Barbara Stevens is the current head coach for Bentley University’s women’s basketball team. She won a Division II national championship in 2014. Her all-time record is 1,039-282. She is also a five-time Division II Coach of the Year.

Tamika Catchings is a WNBA superstar who played 15 seasons with the Indiana Fever from 2002-16. She is a WNBA Champion and Finals MVP in 2012. She also won the WNBA MVP in 2011. She is a 10-time WNBA All-Star.

Last, but not least, Patrick Baumann was a Swiss basketball executive, who also spent time as a player and coach. He was the president of the Global Association of International Sports Federations and the Secretary General of the International Basketball Federation. He passed away Oct. 13, 2018 from a heart attack.

There you have it. The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame was my biggest sports headline of the week. I’ll try to see if there are any other big sports news out there next week. Let me know if there’s a big sports story you want featured in the newspaper.

Marty Simpkins is the sports editor of The Wake Weekly. He can be reached at 919-424-1779 or marty@wakeweekly.com.

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