Gasol, Nowitzki, Parker, and Popovich inducted into the Hall of Fame

2023-08-13T10:17:46+00:00 2023-08-13T11:32:43+00:00.

Nikola Miloradovic

13/Aug/23 10:17

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2023 exudes serious European vibes

By Eurohoops Team/

European basketball legends Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol, and one of the greatest NBA coaches of all time with European roots, Gregg Popovich, were officially inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame during an emotional ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Other inductees included three-time NBA champion Dwayne Wade, six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon, the 1976 US Women’s Olympic team, and former coaches Gene Keady, Gary Blair, David Hixon, Gene Bess, and Jim Valvano.

It’s a powerhouse class, truly. I’m humbled and very lucky to be a part of this class with all these amazing people. I want to give a special mention to those first Europeans who came here across the ocean, who took a chance,” said Gasol. He played for 18 years in the NBA, won two championships, and became the first international Rookie of the Year.

It was an unbelievable journey. I never thought somebody like me could experience something like that. When I was in France, they would say, ‘You’re too small. You’re too skinny. You’ll never make it.’ Well, I’m the one who is laughing now. To all the kids who are watching, keep dreaming big,” said Parker. He was a star for Popovich’s San Antonio Spurs from 2001-2018 and finished his NBA career in Charlotte in 2019.

I just want to say thank you to my closest people. I want to make sure the people who were with me on this journey get their flowers, and then I can ride off into the sunset,” said Nowitzki, the first European-born player to win the NBA MVP award in 2007. He played his entire 21-year career for the Dallas Mavericks, leading them to the 2011 NBA title as the NBA Finals MVP.

Popovich, the coach with the most wins in the NBA and a five-time champion, choked up when he thanked his family. As if it would be news to those who see him as a sideline ogre, he said, “I have a family. People think that I just do basketball. Basketball doesn’t love us back. We use it like a bar of soap. … I don’t remember it saying, ‘I love you, Pop.’

I believed in hard work, putting my head down, keeping my ears open, and just going to work,” Wade said. “I had a dream, and I didn’t want anything to get in the way of my dream. I made sure I put in the work and had every opportunity to be as great as possible.