First of all, I want to congratulate everyone that was nominated early last week on the 2013 ballot for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. While none of us do what we do to make the Hall of Fame, I imagine it is an unbelievable honor just to be recognized as a nominee and be considered for the game’s highest honor.
Everybody on this year’s list is deserving of the nomination. I can’t think of anyone on the list who hasn’t done something significant for our game, but I also have a working relationship and friendship with two of the people on this year’s ballot: Del Harris and George Raveling. As a friend, I want to let you know what I think about these two, why they should be in the Hall of Fame and their contributions to the game of basketball.
Both of them could be elected to the Hall of Fame just as coaches. Think about what Del did as a coach or what George did with the programs he coached in college.
In the NBA alone, Del totaled more than 500 wins in 12 full seasons as a head coach in the NBA, won NBA Coach of the Year honors in 1995 and sat on the bench for more than 200 playoff games as a head or assistant coach.
Internationally, Del coached Puerto Rico to its first-ever CentroBasket Championship in 1974, was an assistant with Team USA when it won a bronze medal at the 1998 World Games and he was one of our assistants these past two years with the Dominican Republic National Team, including last year when we nearly took the Caribbean country to its first-ever Olympics.
Look at what George did on the college scene. In all three of his head-coaching stops at USC, Iowa and Washington State, he took the program to the NCAA Tournament. He did that at difficult jobs. Who else has won at USC? Who has won at Washington State? How have they done at Iowa? George is one of the greatest coaches in all three of those programs.
George’s international career consists of a gold medal with the 1984 U.S. Olympic team, a silver medal with the 1988 Olympic team and he was the head coach of Team USA at the 1994 Goodwill Games.
Having said that, both coaches are nominated as contributors for their contributions to the game, so I wanted to take a few seconds to highlight some of their accomplishments off the basketball court that have put them in the position to make the Hall of Fame. I can’t think of two people who have given more to coaches on every level than Del and George. I know I wouldn’t be where I am today without their leadership, friendship and guidance.
- International basketball has grown tremendously over the last 50 years, and Del has played a big part in that. His biggest contributions have been engaging in the development of that growth through his coaching, writing and his clinic/camp work around the world that has touched on six decades. His writing has been translated into five languages.
- He has lectured on basketball on all continents except Australia and in 15 different countries.
- His influence as a teacher began with articles in various athletic publications in the late 1960s at a time when countries around the world were hungry for any coaching information that came out of the US. The articles were in Coaching Clinic, Athletic Journal, Scholastic Coach, Converse Yearbook and later magazines like Giganti in Italy.
- Del has made broad contributions in the media as an analyst for Dallas Mavericks games on Spanish TV, ESPN Spanish radio for the NBA Finals in 1996 and studio work for Fox Sports Southwest.
- He was recently awarded the Jerry Colangelo Award for character and contributions to basketball on and off the court at the NBA All-Star Game in 2011.
- Del is currently the general manager of the Texas Legends, the Dallas Mavericks’ developmental league team.
- George was a trailblazer on the college basketball scene, playing major college basketball prior to the civil rights movement. He went on to become the first black head coach in the Pacific-8, which we now know as the Pac-12.
- Coach Rav joined the basketball media as a color commentator for Fox Sports and CBS after his head-coaching career was over.
- George has played an integral part in Nike Basketball’s growth since taking the Director of Grass Roots Basketball position for Nike in the 1990s. He was promoted to Director of Global Basketball in 2000.
- At the age of 70, George was named the Director of International Basketball for Nike, where he was responsible for spreading the Nike brand around the world, focusing largely on the Chinese market.
- George has written two books on the game, “War on the Boards,” and a “Rebounder’s Workshop.”
- Now into his 70s, George has continued to grow and evolve. He has his own website, coachgeorgeraveling.com, which is dedicated to sharing George’s life lessons, experiences in basketball and ideas with the basketball community and beyond.