Spencer Haywood and Dikembe Mutombo were great players who accomplished as much or more off the court.
On Friday night, they were celebrated for both.
The two former NBA stars were enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, part of a class of 11 players, coaches and referees.
Kentucky coach John Calipari was the last member of the class to speak at Symphony Hall.
The rest of the class includes referee Dick Bavetta, former Celtic Jo Jo White and women’s star Lisa Leslie. Tom Heinsohn is being inducted as a coach after already being enshrined as a player, and will be joined by former coaches George Raveling and Australia’s Lindsay Gaze, plus ABA star Louis Dampier and early African-American player John Isaacs.
Players such as LeBron James, Kevin Garnett and Kevin Durant will likely be here one day, and will owe a debt of gratitude to Haywood.
His battle with the NBA that went all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court in 1970 knocked down the age requirement that required players to be four years removed from high school. Once in the league, he went on to play 12 seasons, make four All-Star teams and win a championship.
SOURCE: The Associated Press