The biggest name going into the Hall is Dikembe Mutombo, one of the greatest centers to ever play the game.
Mutombo was born in Kinshasa, Zaire, which is now the Congo, and by time he came to the NBA, he was fluent in 7 languages- an amazing feat.
He is most well known for his blocked-shot finger wag, He also was an excellent rebounder.
He entered the League in 1991-92 as the 4th overall draft pick, by the Denver Nuggets. He also played for the Atlanta Hawks, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Nets, New York Knicks and the Houston Rockets, retiring at the conclusion of the 2008-09 season, during which he played only 9 games. He ranks second all-time in blocked shots and 19th all-time in rebounding. He was an 8-time all-Star and 4 time Defensive Player of the Year. His number #55 jersey- the only jersey number he ever wore in the NBA- will be retired by the Hawks later this coming season.
Perhaps his greatest, lasting legacy is the hospitals he has founded in Africa, and paid for out of his own pocket, however.
|1992-93 Upper Deck McDonald's #P10|
|1997-98 Bowman's Best Best Techniques Atomic Refractor #T1|
|2002-03 Fleer Genuine Global Warning|
|1991-92 Fleer Dikembe Mutombo Autograph #8|
Jo Jo White had a relatively short career, only 12 years, 10 of which were with the Boston Celtics, where he wore #10, in a funny coincidence. He also played half a season with the Golden State Warriors and ended his career with 13 games for the Kansas City Kings. He entered the League in 1969-70 and his final season was 1980-81, his entire career taking place before I was born. He won two NBA titles with the Celtics, and was named Finals MVP during the 1975-76 season. He earned 7 All-Star appearances and the Celtics have retired his #10- one of 22 numbers they have hung in the rafters.
|1975-76 Topps #135|
|2012-13 Panini Preferred #189, AU SN 60/74|
|1971-72 Topps #224|
|2000 Topps USA #63|
While no cards were issued of him as a coach, he has had several as a player. Only three were issued during his playing career, and I have none of them.
|1984-85 Star Schick NBA Legends #14|
There are also several people being inducted who have no cards.
Dick Bavetta was a long-time NBA referee, serving the league for nearly 40 years.
Lindsay Gaze is an Australian coach who I know nothing about, other than the fact that he is an Australian coach (I will learn more as I watch the induction). Apparently he's a big deal in his home country, and it is possible he does have cards- the NBL had card sets issued in the 1990s when he was coaching there, but I don't have any of them.
John Isaacs I know absolutely nothing about. He was a player from the Pioneer days before the NBA even existed.
George Raveling is a college coach, and as I don't follow college sports, I had never heard about him before the Hall of Fame class was announced, but the most interesting thing I see in his biography paragraph on NBA.com is that he got an original copy of Martin Luther King Jr's "I have a Dream" speech, in my opinion one of the greatest of all time.
John Calipari is another coach, primarily known for college although he did coach the New Jersey Nets for a short time. He does have a card- in 1996-97 Hoops- but I don't have it. He has at least 1 college card and several issues in the mostly baseball Allen & Ginter releases but I don't have any of them, either. As he is still an active coach, I personally don't believe he should be in the Hall of Fame as yet. His NBA career was certainly not-Hall worthy but I can't comment on his college career.
I'm very much looking forward to watching the Hall of Fame induction ceremonies tonight, at 6:30 PM EST on NBATV. They are always fun to watch, not only for the vintage footage that is shown though that is a big part of it, but also for seeing the people being enshrined have a chance to tell their own story in their own way.
As an aside, I saw when I pulled up Blogger that Cardboard History had hit 20,000 total views since I last logged in around midnight on September 10th. Thank you, readers! I've only been doing this for 10 months so that is a lot more than I expected at this time. Most of my posts average around 50 views so I don't know where these hits are coming from, but I shall not complain.