Warriors 2012 Hall of Fame Inductees
August 28, 2012
Three of the 12 members of the 2012 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class have Warrior ties:
...and Jamaal Wilkes.
In 31 years as a NBA head coach, Nelson became known as one of the games most innovative figures in league history.
On April 7, 2010, Nellie broke Lenny Wilkens record for most wins by an NBA head coach. Nelson would finish his coaching career with 1,335 victories.
Nelson is one of only two coaches in league history (joining Pat Riley) to earn NBA Coach of the Year honors three times.
Nelson also enjoyed success in international basketball, leading "Dream Team II" to the gold medal of the 1994 FIBA World Championships in Toronto.
Nelson's success in coaching followed a distinguished 14-year playing career.
Nelson's first stint as a head coach occurred with the Milwaukee Bucks from 1976 to 1987.
In that time, Nelson guided the Bucks to seven-straight 50-plus-win seasons and seven-straight Midwest Division titles.
Nelson's Milwaukee teams finished in the NBA's top-5 in scoring three times and the top-5 in fewest points allowed six times.
Nelson then moved on to the Golden State Warriors in 1988, and his teams were soon among the highest scoring in the NBA.
During his first stint with the Warriors, Nelson also served as general manager and the team made the playoffs in four of his six complete seasons with the club.
After seven seasons with the Warriors, Nelson spent the 1995-96 campaign with the New York Knicks.
In 1997, Nelson began coaching in Dallas, where he helped turn a struggling franchise into a perennial contender.
Nelson returned to the Warriors in 2006 and helped snap the franchise's 13-year playoff drought in his first season back.
Nelson is one of only two coaches in league annals to register at least 250 wins with three different teams (Warriors, Mavericks and Bucks).
Popularly known as Nellie, the Muskegon, Michigan native has appeared in more games as a player, coach, GM or consultant than anyone else in NBA history.
In his three-plus decades as an NBA head coach, Nelson helped develop some of the brightest stars in the NBA.
Throughout his career, many of Nelson's disciples have found great success in the NBA.
Even if many years have passed, many of his former players still have a soft spot in their hearts for good 'ol Nellie.
Nelson's teams registered 50-or-more wins in 13 of his 31 seasons and made 18 playoff appearances.
A colorful character throughout his career, Nelson's blunt honesty with reporters made him a legendary figure among the media.
An NBA lifer, Nelson's coaching career was preceded by 14 years as a player with three different teams.
Nelson played his rookie season with the Chicago Zephyrs before playing the next two seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers.
But as a player, Nelson's greatest achievements came in Boston, where he was part of five NBA Championship teams.
Nelson averaged 10.3 points and 4.9 rebounds over his career and is known as one of the game's greatest "sixth men."
A standout player in his day, Nelson made even more of an impact on the coaching profession.
Among his many honors, Nelson was named one of the top-10 coaches in NBA history by a panel of former players and coaches during the league's 50th anniversary season in 1997.
Sampson’s entrance into the Hall of Fame is the second honor in as many years.
The 7-foot-4 center, who was a three-time College Player of the Year and the No. 1 pick in the 1983 NBA Draft, was enshrined into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2011.
The Warriors acquired Sampson from Houston in December 1987 in a trade that sent Sleepy Floyd and Joe Barry Carroll to Houston.
Sampson averaged 15.4 points and 10.0 rebounds for the 1987-88 Warriors.
Injuries, however, took their toll on Sampson, and he played in just 61 games over his final three NBA seasons after the Warriors traded him to Sacramento in 1989.
After four stellar years at UCLA, Wilkes was drafted 11th overall by the Warriors in 1974 and would be named rookie of the year.
Jamaal Wilkes averaged over 16 points for the Warriors from 1974-77.
Nicknamed “Silk” for his smooth jumper, Wilkes was a key part of the 1975 Championship team.
Known mostly as a scorer with a career average of over 17 points per game, Wilkes was a nasty defender as well-earning all-defensive second team honors in back-to-back seasons with Golden State.
Wilkes would make the 1976 All-Star game before being dealt to the rival Lakers, where he would go on to win 3 more NBA titles and make two more All-Star Game appearances.
Congratulations to Don Nelson, Ralph Sampson, and Jamaal Wilkes for being part of basketball history!