Signature moments from Ray Allen, Steve Nash and other icons from 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame class
The 2018 HOF class will be inducted on Friday night
Every year at the beginning of September, the basketball world turns its focus to Springfield, Massachusetts. This Western Massachusetts town is where Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball over a century ago, and where the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame now sits. And this year, as always, a group of some of the game's greats will be inducted into the HOF.
This year's 2018 class is an, featuring Ray Allen, Steve Nash, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Chris Webber, Maurice Cheeks, Katie Smith and Tina Thompson among others. Ahead of Friday night's induction ceremony let's take a look back at some of the greatest moments from these basketball icons.
Allen was perhaps the easiest player to decide on a signature moment. The NBA's all-time leader in 3-pointers made, Allen's most famous triple came late in Game 6 of the 2013 NBA Finals. With his Heat down by three and facing elimination, Allen took a pass from Chris Bosh and stepped back behind the line to drill a game-tying triple.
After pulling that game out in the ensuing overtime, the Heat went on to win their second straight title, and the second of Allen's career -- his first coming with the Celtics in 2008. Not only was this Allen's all-time greatest shot, but it's one of the most iconic shots in NBA history.
The two-time MVP was one of the greatest point guards to ever play the game. Unfortunately he never was able to capture an NBA title, and the most memorable moment in Nash's career is a big reason why. Late in Game 4 of the 2007 Western Conference second-round series with the San Antonio Spurs, Nash was hip-checked into the scorer's table by Robert Horry. In the ensuing ruckus, Amar'e Stoudemire and Boris Diaw left the bench and were suspended for Game 5, which the Spurs won in Phoenix to take a 3-2 series lead.
The Spurs went on to take the series against the undermanned Suns, then easily defeated the Utah Jazz in the Western Conference finals, and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the NBA Finals. Horry's hip-check of Nash and the ensuing events are not only the greatest what-if of Nash's career, but one of the biggest what-ifs in NBA history. Nash might very well have a ring if he wasn't on the receiving end of that flagrant foul -- one that CBS Sports' and then-Suns teammate .
Hill was absolutely spectacular early in his career with the Pistons, but a myriad of ankle injuries essentially took away four seasons of what should have been his prime. Like Nash, who Hill played with on the Suns for a few seasons, he was never able to capture that elusive championship.
Without a real signature playoff moment, you might think it could be difficult to pick one moment to define Hill's career. Well you would be wrong. In 1998, a few seasons into Hill's career, he absolutely shook Scottie Pippen with a filthy crossover, then went in and jammed it as Pippen tried to recover. That Hill could make one of the game's all-time great defenders look so foolish is a prime example of just how skilled he was prior to the injuries.
It's fitting that Kidd will go into the Hall of Fame alongside Grant Hill, as the two shared the Rookie of the Year Award back in 1995. Another of the league's all-time great point guards, Kidd was a triple-double machine and an absolute wizard with his passing. Yet for all of his greatness, it's difficult to find one specific moment that sticks out for Kidd.
He threw some absurd passes and turned the Nets franchise around, leading them to two Finals appearances and had some great moments -- especially on the defensive end -- in the Mavericks' 2011 playoff run that ended with their upset of the Heat in the Finals. In the end, his famous "bowling ball pass" to Lucious Harris, which showcased his creativity and passing genius, is probably the top single moment in his career. (View at 2:10 in the video below)
A defensive stalwart, four-time All-Star and champion with the Philadelphia 76ers in 1983, Cheeks is one of the more underrated players in league history. Now, though, he's finally being rewarded with enshrinement in the Hall of Fame. But for as good of a player as Cheeks was, his signature moment came after his playing days were over. In 2003, while coaching with the Portland Trail Blazers, Cheeks came to the rescue of a girl who forgot the words to the National Anthem before a game.
One of the greatest players in WNBA history, Thompson was a member of the original WNBA dynasty with the Houston Rockets, winning four titles from 1997-2000, went to nine All-Star Games and made seven All-WNBA teams. And up until last summer, she was the league's all-time leading scorer. In terms of one signature moment, however, she really had hers stolen from her by Teresa Weatherspoon. In the waning seconds of Game 2 of the 1999 WNBA Finals, Thompson scored a bucket to give the Comets a 67-65 lead. It should have been the basket that clinched the team's third straight title, but instead Weatherspoon hit one of the great shots in basketball history -- and did so right over Thompson. But in the end Thompson and the Comets got the last laugh by winning Game 3 to take the title.
Though perhaps not as well known as Thompson, Smith -- who now coaches the New York Liberty -- is another of the WNBA's all-time greats. A two-time champion, seven-time All-Star and two-time member of the All-WNBA first team, Smith is currently fifth on the all-time scoring list and second on the all-time 3-pointers made list. Her signature moment came late in the winner-take-all Game 5 of the 2006 Finals, when she hit a jumper with just under 15 seconds to go to secure the title, the first of her career. (View at 28:20 in video below.)
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