SAN ANTONIO -- Coach Pat Riley, players Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing, plus four others were elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.
Also among the class of 2008 to be inducted in September were player Adrian Dantley, coach Cathy Rush, NBA team owner Bill Davidson, and broadcaster Dick Vitale.
Riley, the third-winningest NBA coach ever, called his election "unbelievable, absolutely unbelievable."
Riley won four NBA titles with the Los Angeles Lakers, then grabbed another one two years ago with Miami. He also has one championship as an assistant and another as a player.
Ewing's Georgetown University beat Olajuwon's University of Houston for the 1984 NCAA championship.
"We both are warriors. We both want to excel. We both wanted to dominate, and when you play against the best you want to perform at your best," Ewing said. "So we both definitely looked at each other as the best."
Olajuwon got his revenge as a pro, leading the Houston Rockets to the first of two straight titles with a seven-game victory over Ewing's New York Knicks in the 1994 NBA Finals -- a team coached by Riley.
Olajuwon, from Nigeria, was the league's MVP in 1994. He was twice named defensive player of the year, and still holds the NBA record for blocked shots at 3,830.
|Dick Vitale can't quite control his emotions at the announcement of his Hall of Fame election. (AP)|
Ewing was the 1986 NBA Rookie of the Year and an 11-time All-Star in a 17-year pro career. He was named to the NBA's 50th anniversary team, and won two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1992.
He remembered field trips to the Hall of Fame as a child growing up in Massachusetts and said he never imagined being a part of it.
"And now I am," he said.
Dantley played for seven teams in a 15-year NBA career, and was named Rookie of the Year in 1977 and Comeback Player of the Year in 1984, when he led the league in scoring. He also won Olympic gold in 1976.
Rush coached Immaculata University to three consecutive U.S. college women's titles from 1972-74 and was enshrined in the women's Hall of Fame in 2000.
Davidson has owned the Detroit Pistons since 1974 and the WNBA's Detroit Shock since 1998. Since then the Pistons have won three championships and the Shock two. He built the Palace of Auburn Hills, and chaired the NBA board of governors.
Vitale, a former coach of the Pistons, has been a college basketball broadcaster for more than 20 years.
The new class will be inducted on Sept. 5 in Springfield, Mass., home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.