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Friday, August 12, 2011
Hall of Fame welcomes latest class

By Dick Vitale
ESPN.com

I know that this is a special time for basketball fans. The newest class of the Basketball Hall of Fame will be enshrined in Springfield, Mass., and undoubtedly there will be butterflies in the stomachs of those being inducted.

This group is very special. There is talent galore from all walks of the basketball community. I know each and every one of them will be concerned about leaving someone special out of their speech. To make it among the creme de la creme of basketball, you are usually surrounded by Hall of Fame individuals who make you better.

I can remember how nervous I was when I gave my induction speech. It was one of the most special nights of my life. Now I look at the latest group going in and they are awesome baby, with a capital A!

Tara VanDerveer
Tara VanDerveer's passion and hard work on the sidelines at Stanford has given her a deserving spot as a Hall of Famer.

I think about Dennis Rodman, the ultimate Windex man and a champion. There is Chris Mullin, who had such a sweet stroke and a great work ethic. I remember first seeing him play for Louie Carnesecca at St. John's and seeing that jump shot tickle the twine.

Artis Gilmore was the big man on campus down at Jacksonville as he led coach Hugh Durham's team to a national championship showdown against UCLA. Gilmore had a super career in both the ABA and NBA.

Tex Winter was the father of the triangle offense and an amazing teacher in college as well as the pros. Tara VanDerveer has had a great track record at Stanford (remember when her team stopped Geno Auriemma and UConn's streak this past season) as well as against international competition.

Goose Tatum has been such an important member of the Harlem Globetrotters, the true ambassadors of the sport of basketball. Satch Sanders has made a difference both on and off the court. He was a valuable member of the Boston Celtics and he has helped so many players after his career on the hardwood.

Herb Magee has been a legend in the City of Brotherly Love on the collegiate sidelines. Teresa Edwards has been an Olympic hero four times. Arvydas Sabonis was one of the best passing big men I have seen play the game. He was so special on an international level and later in Portland with the Trail Blazers.

The induction in Springfield is such a special moment and I hope the new class can treasure every second of it.