2015 Class of FIBA Hall of Fame inducted
MIES (FIBA Hall of Fame) - The 2015 Class of the FIBA Hall of Fame was inducted in Lille, France, on Saturday.
Nine world class basketball personalities from seven different countries were enshrined in a ceremony held in the ballroom of the Hotel Casino Barriere.
A superb exhibition featuring memorabilia from the House of Basketball was set up for the occasion.
The inductees are:
Anne Donovan (USA)
Michael Jordan (USA)
Ruperto Herrera Tabio (Cuba)
Sarunas Marciulionis (Lithuania)
Antoine Rigaudeau (France)
Vladimir Tkachenko (Russia/Ukraine)
Jan Stirling (Australia)
Robert Blanchard (France)
Noah Klieger (Israel)
The inductees took to the stage and paid tribute to FIBA as well as to their national federations, team-mates, coaches, families in some emotional and at times humorous speeches.
Here is a selection of quotes from the speeches given by the inductees.
When it settled in that I was going into the FIBA Hall of Fame, there was immense pride. For me, the pinnacle of my career was representing the red, white and the blue, representing the United States as a player for many years and then as a coach. There is no better feeling than seeing the flag go up on the medal platform. To be recognized for that in my career is very special. Probably what stands out most for me was Seoul, Korea. I was a part of the Olympic team that boycotted (the 1980 Olympics in Moscow). I was a part of the '84 team in L.A. (that won gold) but of course, the Soviet Bloc countries boycotted it. So for me to stick around
for Korea in 1988 and everyone at the party, there were no countries about the gold medal at that point
Ruperto Herrera Tabio
It is a pleasure, an honur that I didn't expect. At times you see things from a distance and when it happens you get emotional. I felt such a satisfaction to be included as a nominee and more so now that I have been elected this year among many basketball celebrities, players, coaches, assistants, Michael Jordan, although he didn't attend, we all know he was the best player in the world, at least for me. I always say it, this recognition it is not just for me but for teammates, as basketball is a collective sport.my coaches throughout my 20 year career, my first coach Carmelo Ortega, with whom we won the Olympic bronze. Also a recognition to the sport movement in Cuba.
I was really pleased when I found out about the FIBA Hall of Fame. I was a little bit surprised. I'm proud that I had a chance to play in the NBA, that we had this Dream Team Olympic Games - 1992 - and all of this period of transition. It was unforgettable. I hope I can contribute more to world basketball.
It's an honor for me to go into the FIBA Hall of Fame and it makes me think of the past. I am more of a person that is about the present and the future. I am now a coach of Paris Levallois and one of my players said, 'Congratulations.' I said, 'I am more of a player that is about the collective (the team). I never run out for something like this. But he told me, 'Yes, but now your kids will know what you really did.' And that's true. Now they can believe me. Now the Hall of Fame is proof that my career was very interesting internationally. I don't have a most important memory. All of my memories are different. For sure the silver medal is important in my life and I have important memories with the French national team, for sure.
It was very unexpected for me (to go into the FIBA Hall of Fame) but I am honored to be there. I have a lot of nostalgia about my time with the national teams. I'm 58 years old now and those times, there are a lot of memories. I was young and all of my best years and best qualities I realized in the Soviet Union national team. I have my best, only happy memories from that time.
It means a lot for Basketball Australia. I've never been into individual accolades. But it's humbling. It's recognition that I've been a part of a fairly good pathway that Basketball Australia provides so for them to get this recognition, I think it's fantastic. As for the memories? I'll always consider myself a holistic coach so for me, it's absolutely been about seeing women have a hunger to do something together and achieve it as a group. So I get much more comfort knowing that these young women are more resilient for life having been a part of the Opals program or the national league teams that I have coached. If we can make them more resilient in life through sport, then our sport is wonderful.
I want to say thank you to FIBA and to the French Basketball Federation. It's a big honor, a good accolade. I refereed for 20 years at the international level, it makes me happy to see people I have refereed. I was in that environment all the time, it really made me happy to respond to this invitation. For me, it's beautiful. Being next to names like Michael Jordan and Antoine Rigaudeau is an honor for me.
I'm very happy of course, and proud that they have decided to have me. It's absolutely important (to go into the FIBA Hall of Fame) because it's something different (for me). I do have the French Legion of Honor, which is France's highest honor you can have. I have the medal of honor from the town in France where I was born. I am a member of the Hall of Fame of Jewish Sports as a boxer. I was never a (real) boxer, but I was a boxer at Auschwitz (Concentration Camp). I boxed, it was one of the things that saved my life. The commander of our camp liked boxing and I boxed on Sundays so I could have bowl of the good soup and not just what they gave us. That soup saved my life. So basketball is a different story. I never expected to be recognized in the House of Basketball, despite the fact that I've been involved with basketball since 1951. When William Jones was secretary general, we met in Paris, my first European Championship. This is my 30th out of 33 (EuroBaskets). He asked me to join the technical commission of FIBA and we met twice a year in Munich. Since then, I've been in basketball. I've been the chairman of the media commission for over 25 years. I've been a special advisor to all of the presidents. I've been involved for 64 years. I would have thought I would have gone in earlier (laughs) but it took some time. It's better late than never (laughs).
Michael Jordan, a two-time Olympic gold medalist with USA Basketball, has informed FIBA that he deeply regrets not being able to attend the ceremony and having to miss out on the opportunity to join his fellow inductees because of previous commitments.