Rick Welts speaks during induction ceremony into the Basketball Hall of Fame, Friday, Sept. 7, 2018, in Springfield, Mass. (AP Photo/Elise Amendola)

The Latest: Hoops Hall opens doors to point guards

September 07, 2018 - 7:54 pm
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — The latest on the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony (all times local):

8:40 p.m.

Former Maryland coach Lefty Driesell broke up the crowd at the Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony with a recap of a career that saw him graduate from Duke and go on to win more than 100 games each at four schools.

Driesell said he was told to speak for five minutes, but every time he stopped to ask if his time was up, the crowd at Springfield's Symphony Hall shouted back: "No!"

Former Tar Heel Charlie Scott followed Driesell and said if the Duke guys were going to go over their time limit, so was the guy from North Carolina. Scott was the first African-American to receive an athletic scholarship at North Carolina. He led the Tar Heels to back-to-back Final Four appearances and was a five-time all-star in the ABA and NBA, winning the 1976 NBA title with the Boston Celtics.

8:25 p.m.

Golden State Warriors Ppresident and COO Rick Welts used his Basketball Hall of Fame induction speech to read a letter that he might have written to himself as a 10-year-old boy.

Welts became a ballboy for his hometown Seattle SuperSonics at 16 and then had his dream job, as Sonics public relations director, at 24. The team made the NBA finals the next two years and won it all in 1979.

But Welts told his younger self that the most important thing he did was come out as gay in 2011. He was the first openly gay NBA executive, and he said he was "overwhelmed and humbled by the support."

New York Liberty coach Katie Smith used her speech to shout out her home state of Ohio. The former Ohio State Buckeye is the top scorer in women's professional basketball history.

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7:50 p.m.

Maurice Cheeks is the first of three great point guards in this year's Basketball Hall of Fame class.

The former Philadelphia 76ers star broke down in tears during his induction speech Friday night.

"Charles told me not to cry, but I'm about to talk about my mother right here," he said, calling her "My very first coach, Mama Cheeks."

Julius Erving approached him to pat Cheeks on the shoulder while he wiped his eyes.

Cheeks is now an assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder. A four-time All-Star who was a member of the Sixers' 1983 championship team, he retired as No. 5 on the NBA's career assist list. Jason Kidd and Steve Nash are also in this year's class.

Cheeks said he was intimidated when he first arrived in Philadelphia.

"Can you imagine as a rookie, walking into the gym and the first person you see is Dr. J?" he said. "I remember almost turning around and walking out."

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7:40 p.m.

Longtime NBA executive Rod Thorn knows what he'll be remembered for.

Although he played eight years in the league and coached in both the NBA and the ABA, it was the selection of Michael Jordan when Thorn was the Chicago Bulls general manager in 1984 that cemented his place in basketball lore.

Thorn made sure to shout out to Jordan in his Hall of Fame induction speech on Friday night.

"Thank you, Michael, for your friendship," Thorn said. "I know I wouldn't have a Wikipedia page without you."

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7:20 p.m.

Grant Hill made sure in his Hall of Fame induction speech to thank the doctors who kept getting him back on the court.

Hill had a 19-year NBA career before he finally retired at the age of 40 in 2013. He missed the entire 2003-04 season with an ankle injury and played fewer than 50 games in a half-dozen other seasons. But he made seven All-Star teams to go with a pair of NCAA championships at Duke and an Olympic gold medal.

The son of former Dallas Cowboys running back Calvin Hill thanked his parents and college coach Mike Krzyzewski, a 2001 inductee. Hill is the first Duke player to be enshrined in the hall, and he said: "I might be the first Duke ballplayer in the hall of fame, but I can promise you I won't be the last."

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