By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
With the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame officially presenting the class of 2023, which includes among others Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, and Tony Parker, EuroLeague basketball for the first time congratulate the European inductees.
However, this is only natural. As the press release states: “The three played key roles in changing the global basketball landscape while spending the vast majority of their careers in the United States, where they each won at least one NBA championship. Only a small group of Europeans had found success in America before Nowitzki arrived in Dallas in 1998. By the time the trio finished in the NBA in 2019, the doors for Europeans had been blown wide open for stars such as Luka Doncic, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Nikola Jokic.
“As a former player, it is always important to see colleagues achieving new and successful goals, and I am sure that besides all the titles that Dirk, Pau, and Tony have lifted, this well-deserved recognition is especially touching for what it represents,” Dejan Bodiroga, Euroleague Basketball President, said. “Having three European-born and raised players inducted the same year into the Hall of Fame is a fact that we all should be proud of, as it demonstrates the importance that European basketball has acquired in the global ecosystem during the last decades, raising an enormous number of talents and achieving unquestionable success.”
“I would like to congratulate Dirk, Pau, and Tony for this recognition. As an American who has spent a long time on this side of the Atlantic, it is enriching to see how basketball has evolved through the years and the key role of globalization to reach new audiences and widen its boundaries,” Marshall Glickman, Euroleague Basketball CEO, stated. “These three superstars perfectly symbolize the importance of European basketball culture, becoming perfect ambassadors not only to educate other countries about the way basketball is experienced in Europe but also as a great inspiration for a generation of young kids to love this sport.”
Bodiroga after all played against them, and Gasol and Parker have very specific ties to the EuroLeague.
Gasol began his professional career with his beloved FC Barcelona, which he led to the Spanish Cup title in 2001 before being voted to the All-EuroLeague Second Team as a 20-year-old.
Two decades later, he returned home at age 39 to end his career with Barca and just a few months later helped it reach the 2020-21 EuroLeague final in Cologne, Germany.
Parker bought a stake in LDLC ASVEL Villeurbanne in 2009 and under him, the French club became a EuroLeague shareholder.
Plus set club records in the EuroCup with his performance in an ASVEL uniform in 2011 during the NBA lockout.