2018 Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony: Grant Hill thanks Coach K; Jason Kidd jokes with Dirk

The 2018 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees were announced in March at the NCAA Final Four, and on Friday they were officially enshrined during the induction ceremony. It's always an emotional scene during the event, as former players and coaches take the stage to thank those who have helped them achieve the highest level of basketball.

The following 13 players and basketball figures are now officially a part of the 2018 Hall of Fame class:

2018 Naismith Hall of Fame Class

  • Ray Allen
  • Maurice Cheeks
  • Lefty Driesell
  • Grant Hill
  • Jason Kidd
  • Steve Nash
  • Dino Radja
  • Charlie Scott
  • Katie Smith
  • Tina Thompson
  • Rod Thorn
  • Ora Mae Washington
  • Rick Welts

Highlights

Grant Hill kicked things off with a strong speech with Patrick Ewing, Mike Krzyzewski, Isiah Thomas and Alonzo Mourning watching from the stage. Hill was sure to thank Coach K, who helped spark his career at Duke.

Next up was former NBA Executive of the Year Rod Thorn, who credited Jason Kidd with turning the Nets' fortunes around. Thorn was joined on stage by fellow Hall of Famer and West Virginian Jerry West.

Mo Cheeks took the stage next, joined by Julius Erving and Billy Cunningham. Cheeks got choked up when talking about his mother, who was there to watch the induction.

Katie Smith took the stage next, accompanied by former teammate and opponent Dawn Staley. Smith paid homage to her home state of Ohio, and talked about how she gave up a career in dentistry to play professional basketball.

NBA executive Rick Welts then took the stage along with a host of friends, including the legendary Bill Russell and former NBA commissioner David Stern. Welts read a letter he wrote to his young self, talking about the journey he would be taken on by the game of basketball.

Coach Lefty Driesell took the stage next and injected some humor into the proceedings, cracking jokes about his age and telling stories from back in the day. He had everyone in the room laughing, including fellow coaches Krzyzewski, John Thompson and George Raveling, who joined him on stage.

Next up was Charlie Scott, who took the opportunity to razz some of the Duke alums who spoke before him.

Staley then returned to the stage to honor Ora Mae Washington, a trail blazing basketball and tennis player who died in 1971.

Croatian superstar Dino Radja took the stage next, tearing up as he thanked his family.

Following Radja, one of the game's all-time great point guards took the stage. Kidd joked about carrying Dirk Nowitzki to the 2011 title with the Mavericks, and gave a shout-out to fellow inductee Hill -- with whom Kidd shared the 1995 NBA Rookie of the Year Award. 

The focus then shifted back to the WNBA. Tina Thompson, the first-ever No. 1 pick in WNBA history, and the league's No. 2 all-time scorer made her way to the podium. She gave thanks and shared a heartfelt moment with her family.

Steve Nash, another legendary point guard, was up next. Along with giving shout-outs to his former teammates, coaches and fellow inductees, Nash told a great story about how he fell in love with the game of basketball as a youngster. 

Finally, the league's all-time 3-point shooter, Ray Allen, took the stage. He had plenty of kind words for the man who presented Allen during the ceremony, and another of the league's great shooters, Reggie Miller.

Jerry Colangelo then closed out the ceremony, as all the inductees were welcomed on stage and given a standing ovation for all of their accomplishments. 

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