By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com
Posted Sep 7, 2012 8:04 AM
Clippers forward Grant Hill will be saluted as one of three winners of the Mannie Jackson-Basketball's Human Spirit Award on Thursday in Springfield, Mass., as part of the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, the latest nod to Hill's standing as one of the NBA's top citizens.
The award recognizes community work, overcoming adversity and dedication to the game. Chauncey Billups, Samuel Dalembert, Bob Lanier, Alonzo Mourning, David Robinson and Dikembe Mutombo were previous recipients as current or former players.
"You just try to live by the creed that, 'To who much is given, much is expected,' " Hill told the Arizona Republic when the honor was announced in April. "You try to do the right thing and help, and hopefully be an example for the game ... Basketball doesn't define you. It's your character. It's your personality. It's who you are and what you stand for. Whether you get recognized or not, doing the right thing is great. But to have an institution like the Hall of Fame recognize me is quite an honor."
In naming Jim Calhoun the winner from the college ranks, the Hall noted how the coach at the University of Connecticut twice beat cancer and has helped raise millions of dollars to fight the disease while building one of the top programs in the nation. The Calhoun family has also worked on behalf of food banks and the Juvenile Diabetes Foundation.
Richard Lapchick will receive the award in the "Grassroots" ranks. The son of Hall of Fame coach Joe Lapchick is president and CEO of the National Consortium for Academics and Sport as well as founder and director of the Institute for Diversity and Ethics In Sport at the University of Central Florida.
The others who will be saluted this week -- along with players (Reggie Miller, Jamaal Wilkes, Ralph Sampson, Mel Daniels, Chet Walker), coaches (Don Nelson), business executives (Phil Knight) and media members (Sam Smith, Bill Schonely) -- include:
* Lidia Alexeeva. Elected by the International Committee, Alexeeva coached the Soviet Union women's team to gold medals in the 1976 and '80 along with four world championships and 10 European championships. She is already enshrined in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame and the FIBA Hall of Fame.
* Don Barksdale. Elected as a Contributor by the Early African-American Pioneers of the Game Committee, Barksdale was the first African-American to become an NCAA All-America, the first to make a U.S. Olympic team and, as a Celtic, the first to play in an NBA All-Star game. Barksdale also served in the military during World War II and in 1983 launched the Save High School Sports Foundation, which raised more than $1 million in the next 10 years to save several athletic programs in Oakland before his passing in 1993.
* Katrina McClain. Elected by the Women's Committee, McClain is one of the most-decorated players in USA Basketball history, winning Olympic gold in 1988 and '96, a bronze in 1992, three medals at the world championships, and five more at the Goodwill Games, Pan-Am Games and World University Games. She was a two-time Kodak All-America at Georgia and Player of the Year in 1987.
* Hank Nichols. Elected by the North American Committee, Nichols was referee for six NCAA title games, 10 Final Fours, three NIT finals, 13 ACC championships, two Olympics and one European championship. He later became the national coordinator of officials for the NCAA and is cited by the Hall as one of the influential rules architects in the game.
* Pat Williams. The current Magic senior vice president and former general manager in Chicago, Atlanta, Philadelphia and Orlando will be presented with the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, what the Hall describes as its most prestigious honor outside of enshrinement.
* All American Redheads. Elected by the Women's Committee, the barnstorming team that played from 1936 to 1986 regularly played more than 200 games per season over 49 states, Canada and the Philippines, from small towns to Madison Square Garden and Chicago Stadium.
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