(AP) – George Karl has lost 19 of his 21 games as an NBA coach. Tim Hardaway spent his days hunkering down in his unfinished basement when it was too cold to go outside in his hometown of Chicago. Teresa Grentz’s family lost all their possessions in a house fire in 1970, saving only the yellow pajamas she was wearing.
There were no signs that basketball immortality awaited any of them.
Now, they are members of the most sought-after club in the game. Karl, Hardaway and Grenz will be among 13 people to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Saturday night — a team largely bound together by what it has won on its way to a long list of accomplishments. NCAA titles, NBA titles and Olympic gold medals.
“You learn from adversity,” Grentz said Friday. “You don’t have to be perfect at everything. You take what you have, make it work, make the most of what you have, not what you think you need. We were there, I had nothing, but tomorrow night – and I’m really shocked about this – I’m going to the hall of fame.
Karl was one of five people selected by the North American committee, along with West Virginia coach Bob Huggins, the late Judge Hugh Evans and longtime NBA stars Manu Ginobili and Tim Hardaway.
Swin Cash, Marian Stanley and Lindsay Whalen were elected by the Women’s Committee. Longtime coaches Dale Harris and Larry Costello were selected by the contributors committee, while sixth-time All-Star Lou Hudson was selected by the veterans committee. Grentz — who played for the legendary Immaculata program and led Rutgers to its last AIAW title in 1982 — was selected by the women’s senior committee and FIBA Hall of Famer Radevoi Korak by the international committee.
Karl’s NBA coaching career began with the Cleveland Cavaliers in 1984, going 0-9 and 2-19, but he led Boston to a playoff opener that season. The Celtics are up 3-1 in the series, and Karl believes the Celtics got a good whistle.
“Going to the Finals…the experience of playing with Michael Jordan and the Bulls…”
George Karl talks about his fondest coaching memories as he prepares to enter the @Hoophall pic.twitter.com/mEo26M7Cp8
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 9, 2022
“All the calls have been received,” laments Carl.
Maybe so. But half a lifetime later, Carl found the calling of the hall.
Harris’ coaching career has included working with many Hall of Famers — Rick Barry, Magic Johnson, Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash, Yao Ming and Magic Johnson among them — along with sure-fire Dirk Nowitzki.
“It’s still more humbling for me than anything I’ve ever known, that I’ve contributed to the game in one way or another and not just played or coached it,” Harris said.
Hardaway was another four-time finalist for the Hall, never inducted. This year’s Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva’s call was one he didn’t want to take, fearing he was going 0-for-5. .
“Shaking, sweating, a lot of emotions going on,” Hardaway said of that moment. “I saw the Hall of Fame number come up on my phone. I didn’t want to pick up the phone because I didn’t want to do another rejection.”
He won’t have to worry about that again.
Wallen, a four-time WNBA champion and now the coach at her alma mater, Minnesota, said one of the first great teams she saw in person was the 2002 UConn Huskies — the team that featured Cash. And it’s not lost on Wall that she’s being inducted into the Hall alongside Cash, Grentz and Stanley, who played at Immaculata before her long coaching career.
“When myself and Teresa, Marianne, Swin come in together, I think we represent a lot of what’s been good about women’s basketball over the years,” Whalen said. And I think the young girls and women sitting there now look at us and if they work hard, it can be a real goal and a dream for them.
UConn coach Geno Auriemma was among the five presenters Cash chose to be by her side for Saturday’s ceremony.
Dawn Staley and Charles Barclay are Lindsay Whalen’s featured presenters tomorrow night at @Hoophall @Lindsay_13 on why she chose them: pic.twitter.com/ZzBzIx9QUc
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 9, 2022
Money complimented Orimah’s relentless pursuit of excellence.
“You were trying to be the best and practices were always harder than the game,” said the two-time NCAA champion, three-time WNBA champion, two-time Olympic gold medalist and now part of the front office with the NBA. New Orleans Pelicans. “But this prepares you mentally to understand what you want to achieve. And every year, the bar was the national championship. With some people, bar a conference championship or ‘hey, we made the playoffs’. But in Connecticut, we hang a banner.
Also now members of the Hall are three elected by the former African-American Pioneer Committee: Wyatt “Sonny” Boswell, Inman Jackson and Albert “Runt” Pullins – all of whom were, among other things, members of the Harlem Globetrotters.
Huggins — who, like Whalen, also coaches at his alma mater — has 916 collegiate coaching wins to his credit, 844 of which come at the Division I level.
“Good players,” Huggins said. “I’m lucky.”