Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen have been named among the elite for years, and now it is official as the two have been chosen along with two of the best U.S. Olympic teams as part of the 2010 induction class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The selection which took place on Monday (April 5) gave honors to Malone and Pippen both as individuals as well as honoring them for being a part on the 1992 Olympic Dream Team.
“This is a great moment. This is something that I never dreamed would happen to me as a player,” Pippen said. “This is very special to me as a kid who walked on at the University of Central Arkansas.”
Pippen, who made seven All-Star teams during his 17-year NBA career and won six championships alongside Michael Jordan, also served part of his tenure rivaling Malone, a two-time NBA MVP, who was an All-Star in 14 of his 19 seasons.
Malone led the Utah Jazz to the NBA Finals in 1997 and 1998 and is also most notated for being the second-leading scorer in NBA history; Malone finished his career in 2004 with 36,928 points.
In addition to Malone and Pippen, NBA veterans Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson and Brazil star Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira will be honored along with Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, WNBA star Cynthia Cooper and U.S. high school coaching great Bob Hurley, Sr.
Dennis Johnson, a three-time NBA champion, was the MVP of the 1979 Finals with Seattle before taking over as the point guard on the Bird-led Boston Celtics teams of the mid-1980s. He died of a heart attack in 2007 at age 52.
Gus Johnson, who died in 1987 at 48, led the Baltimore Bullets to five playoff appearances, including the 1971 finals. Pereira, who died in 2002 at 58, won a gold medal at the 1963 worlds, a silver at the 1970 worlds, and a bronze at the 1964 Olympics.
The 1960 and 1992 U.S. Olympic teams, which both won Olympic gold medals, will be part of the induction ceremony on August 13th.
“Playing for your country is the ultimate,” said Larry Bird, who represented the team at Monday’s ceremony. “Our team was pretty special. We had some pretty good players.”
Bird also was thrilled by Dennis Johnson’s inclusion.
“It’s very special. We’ve been waiting for this day for a long time,” he said. “He’s the best player I ever played with.”