By Josh Bogorad
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday September 27, 2002
Tomorrow, the Basketball Hall of Fame will welcome six new members into its family. Joining UA head coach Lute Olson will be five other legends, including players, a coach and an entire team.
Earvin ĪMagic' Johnson
As a 6-foot-9 point guard, Earvin "Magic" Johnson had the ability to confuse defenses in a way no one else could. Every game was a personal highlight reel for the "Magic Man." Whether it was his patented baby hook shot, behind-the-back passes that seemed to be generated from nowhere or his clutch ability whenever the game relied on him, Magic delivered.
Magic was a 12-time All-Star in a 13-year career. He helped lead the Los Angeles Lakers to five World Championships.
In spite of all his accomplishments on the court, Magic's biggest win has come against the HIV virus. Ten years after being diagnosed with HIV, Magic Johnson will enter the Hall of Fame tomorrow with the virus undetectable in his body. It has been called a medical miracle and an impossible occurrence, yet for anyone who saw him on or off the court, they simply call it "Magic."
Drazen Petrovic's impact on the NBA can be felt now more than ever. For the growing number of foreign players entering the NBA with success today, Petrovic helped pave the way. This Croatian superstar pioneered the European movement into the NBA. As one of the first European players to reach star status in the United States, Petrovic proved that the basketball world had more to offer America than a brief workout. Petrovic won the first of his two Silver Medals in the 1988 Summer Olympics and once scored an incredible 112 points in a Croatian League game in 1985.
This was enough for the NBA to take notice, and Petrovic finally burst into the league with the Portland Trailblazers in 1989 and later played for New Jersey. Unfortunately, Petrovic's career would be cut short before he could gain the popularity he deserved. In 1993, Petrovic was killed in a car accident in Germany.
Normally, when a coach moves around a lot it is the sign of an unsuccessful career. For Larry Brown, however, it is the sign of discovering talent and victories everywhere he goes. Larry Brown has coached college or professional basketball for the past 30 seasons. He has had a winning record in 26 of those seasons even while leading teams such as the Los Angeles Clippers and Denver Nuggets. Brown currently resides at No. 9 on the all-time NBA wins list, and is the only NBA coach to ever earn a playoff spot with six different NBA teams. In 1980, he led the UCLA Bruins to a national championship, and 20 years later he led the Philadelphia 76ers to their first NBA Finals since 1982. Perhaps more impressive than all his other achievements, Brown has actually taught Allen Iverson that the four other guys on the court with the same shirts as him are his teammates.
Kay Yow ranks fifth on the all-time list for wins by a female college coach. At Elon and North Carolina State, Yow has broken into the "W" column 625 times in just 22 seasons. Yow has always kept her teams in the national spotlight. Teams under Yow have finished in the Associated Press Top 20 poll 16 out of 22 seasons. She has won coach of the year honors four times in her storied career and is the only female coach to ever win gold at the Olympics and the World Championships. Before women's basketball gained the current popularity it has, Yow remained committed to winning. She has won two national championships with N.C. State, and in 1988 she was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame. In 2000, she entered the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame. Her induction tomorrow will complete her legacy as one of the finest female coaches of all time.
The Harlem Globetrotters
In 1927, when the Harlem Globetrotters became a professional basketball team, many people said they were a joke. Seventy-five years later, they had no idea what an amazing joke they would turn into. Contrary to popular belief, it wasn't until the early '40s that the Globetrotters became an "entertainment-first" basketball team. Before the Globetrotters started making their way around the world as a comedy act, they proved to the basketball world that they had talent. Several basketball experts have said that the Globetrotters induction was a long time coming. Among them are the Washington Generals ÷ the team that lost to the Globetrotters an estimated 15,000 times ÷ who can finally say at least they were beaten by a Hall of Fame team, and Scooby-Doo and Shaggy, who never would've found all those ghosts without the help of the Globetrotters.