The 2023 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class is expected to be a star-studded one with legendary Los Angeles Lakers big man Pau Gasol joining Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade, Tony Parker, Gregg Popovich and others as finalists in their first year on the ballot.
Hall of Fame induction weekend is scheduled to begin on Friday, Aug. 11, with the tip-off celebration and awards gala, which includes the Class of 2023 jacket and ring presentation, and the annual Hall of Fame Awards. The enshrinement ceremony will then be in the next day in Springfield’s historic Symphony Hall.
The Class of 2023 will officially be announced over the weekend at the NCAA Final Four in Houston, but according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, Gasol is among those that have been elected:
ESPN Sources: Dwyane Wade, Dirk Nowitzki, Pau Gasol, Tony Parker, Becky Hammon and Gregg Popovich are among the finalists who’ve been elected into Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2023. Formal announcement will come at Final Four in Houston this weekend.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) March 29, 2023
This will be one of the best Hall of Fame classes in history with a two-time champion in Gasol, three-time champion in Wade, former MVP and champion in Nowitzki and five-time champion San Antonio Spurs duo of Parker and Popovich. Becky Hammon is also deserving as a player and now coach, who worked with one of the greatest ever in Popovich in San Antonio and now just won a championship leading the Las Vegas Aces.
Gasol was acquired by the Lakers from the Memphis Grizzlies in 2008 and immediately became a fan favorite, joining Kobe Bryant to get L.A. to three NBA Finals, winning back-to-back titles in 2009 and 2010. In addition to his two championships, Gasol was also named an All-Star six times.
Internationally, Gasol led his country to the 2006 FIBA World Cup Championship as well as three EuroBasket Championships in 2009, 2011 and 2015 while being named MVP in three of those tournaments. He also has three Olympic medals for Spain and won three league championships in Liga ACB during his career outside of the NBA.
Gasol had jersey retired on March 7
The Lakers usually wait until a player is in the Hall of Fame to retire their number, but they made an exception for Gasol knowing he would likely be inducted this year. He saw his No. 16 jersey raised into the rafters at halftime of the Lakers’ game on March 7 against the Grizzlies, being showered with love from former teammates, family and fans.
When the induction ceremony takes place this summer, it will be another well-deserved celebration for Gasol and all of the other electees.
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