2018 Hall of Fame
Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Maurice Cheeks lead 2018 Naismith Hall of Fame class
Aaron Beard | The Associated Press
- Complete Coverage: Class of 2018 Enshrinement
If the latest Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class ever needs someone to run a play, they have plenty of former players who could handle the task.
Former standout playmakers Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Grant Hill, Ray Allen and Maurice Cheeks head up the 13-member 2018 Hall of Fame class that also includes the WNBA’s Tina Thompson, coach Lefty Driesell, Charlie Scott, executives Rick Welts and Rod Thorn and Dino Radja, Katie Smith and Ora Mae Washington.
Nash, Kidd and Cheeks were all standout point guards during their playing days, with each ranking in the Top 15 in assists.
Nash played 19 seasons — 10 of those with the Phoenix Suns — earning MVP honors in 2005 and ’06. An eight-time NBA All-Star, Nash is also a three-time All-NBA first teamer (2005-07) and lead the league in assists five times. He ranks third on the all-time assists list (10,335) and holds the NBA record for highest career free-throw percentage (90.4). Additionally, he had four 50-40-90 seasons (field goal percentage, 3-point percentage and free-throw percentage). At Santa Clara, Nash was twice named West Coast Conference Player of the Year (1995, ’96).
In 1994-95, Kidd shared Rookie of the Year honors with Hill and would go on to become a 10-time All-Star. He won a championship with the Dallas Mavericks in 2011 and earned All-NBA first team honors five times in his career. Additionally, he was a four-time All-Defensive first teamer four times in his career and trails only John Stockton on the all-time steals list with 2,684. He is also second to Stockton on the all-time assists list (12,091). He starred at Cal, winning Pac-10 Player of the Year and All-America honors in 1994.
Smooth-shooting Ray Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-point shots made (2,973). A 10-time All-Star, Allen won a championship with the Celtics in 2008. He is ranked sixth on the all-time free-throw percentage list (.894). Allen played 18 seasons, including stints with the Bucks, SuperSonics, Celtics and his final two seasons with the Heat. In his last season with the Heat (2013-14), Allen nailed the clutch 3-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the Spurs that forced overtime.That allowed the Heat to win that game and emerge with the Heat’s third championship in Game 7.
The versatile Hill never played point guard, but he was one of the NBA’s best playmakers in his prime nonetheless. A 19-year NBA veteran, Hill was a seven-time All-Star and co-Rookie of the Year in 1995. He made the All-NBA first team in 1997 and was a second team member four times, too. His days at Duke were a success as well, as he helped the team to two NCAA titles (’91, ’92) and was the ACC Player of the Year and an All-American in ’94. In 2005, he was named one of ESPN’s 50 Top College Players of All Time.
Cheeks currently serves as an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. But in his playing days, he was a key piece in the Philadelphia 76ers’ title-contending teams of the early 1980s. A four-time All-Star, Cheeks was the starting point guard on the 1983 NBA championship team. He made four All-Defensive teams in his career as well. Upon his retirement in 1993, Cheeks was the NBA’s all-time leader in steals (2,310) and ranked fifth all-time in assists (7,392). Cheeks played at West Texas State College (1974-78), where he was a two-time All-Conference player.
Among the other members of the class, Thompson was the first draft choice in WNBA history and a four-time league champion, while Smith is the top scorer in women’s professional basketball history.
Driesell is the only NCAA coach to win 100 games at four different schools. Scott is a five-time NBA All-Star who also excelled in the ABA. Cheeks is a four-time NBA All-Star and one of the greatest defensive point guards in hoops history.
Welts has worked in several aspects of the professional game, including the launch of the WNBA. Thorn has a lengthy career as a player, coach and executive.
Radja was one of the greatest European players of his generation, and he played four seasons for the Boston Celtics.
Born in 1898, Washington was a spectacular athlete who excelled at tennis but also played on 11 consecutive Women’s Colored Basketball World’s Championship teams.
— The Associated Press contributed to this report.