Franchise legend Bob Dandridge inducted into Hall of Fame
On Saturday night in Springfield, Mass., franchise legend Bob Dandridge was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Dandridge, a two-time champion and four-time All-Star who played four seasons in D.C., joined 15 other inductees, including former Wizards Chris Webber, Paul Pierce and Ben Wallace.
“I bring to this celebration my village of friends, classmates, teammates, coaches, mentors, neighbors and friends of youth that I have trained and coached,” Dandridge said during his enshrinement speech. “A Hall of Famer once said, ‘this Hall of Fame achievement is not for me – this is for my family.’ … I think about the sacrifices my parents, Dorothy and Robert Dandridge, made to make sure my sisters and I had the tools to flourish not for a short time, but for a lifetime.”
Each of Saturday’s 16 inductees selected previous Hall of Fame inductees to serve as their presenters during the enshrinement ceremony. Dandridge selected 12-time All-Star Oscar Robertson, his teammate in Milwaukee and a Hall of Fame Class of 1980 inductee.
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, the NBA’s all-time leading scorer and another one of Dandridge’s notable former teammates, said of his legacy: “Bob Dandridge should be remembered as a great all-around player – offense and defense – someone who really complemented the teammates that he had no matter where he went.”
Dandridge was inducted as a distinguished selection of the Veteran’s Committee, which requires a player to have been retired for at least 35 years before induction.
“To me, being a Hall of Famer is not about basketball,” Dandridge said. “Ya’ll know I’ve had to wait awhile, but there’s been so much growth inside of me that I am real grateful for the wait. I’ve had a chance to be a better father and be a better person.”
Dandridge signed with the Bullets as a free agent in 1977 after eight seasons in Milwaukee. In signing with Washington, he was returning home. Dandridge was born and raised in Richmond – and attended Norfolk State University in Virginia.
“I’d been in the Midwest for eight years and it was just special to come back as close to home as I could get to play,” Dandridge said in an interview with WashingtonWizards.com in 2017. “And although I grew up in Virginia, I played a lot of basketball when I was young in Washington, D.C., so Washington D.C. was very special area for me knowing that I could go home and my family and fans out of Virginia could get to see me play more often.”
In his four seasons with the Bullets, Dandridge helped lead the team to a championship in 1978 – and was named an All-Star and to the All-NBA and All-Defense teams in 1979. During the team’s championship run in 1978, Dandridge averaged 21.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists in 39.3 minutes per game in 19 playoffs games. Over 221 total games in Washington, Dandridge averaged 18.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.
Since his playing career ended, Dandridge has stayed active with the organization, playing an integral part in the formation of the Bullets and Wizards Alumni Association.
The full Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021: Rick Adelman, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell (coach), Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Jay Wright, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Val Ackerman (Contributor Committee), Cotton Fitzimmons (Contributor Committee), Howard Garfinkel (Contributor Committee), Clarence “Fats” Jenkins (Early African American Pioneers Committee), Toni Kukoc (International Committee), Bob Dandridge (Veterans Committee) and Pearl Moore (Women’s Veterans Committee).