Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees 2018: A look back at their careers
The Hall of Fame class of 2018 is a hallowed one. Among those who missed out are Chris Webber - the player with the best NBA career among the Fab Five from Michigan State, and Rudy Tomjanovich, a player and later on a coach whose quote "Never underestimate the heart of a champion" is up there among the most iconic sports quotes ever.
The following 5 players were some of the most influential players of the league in their heyday. Other than Grant Hill, all four of the others were crucial components of championship-winning teams. Unlike other veterans of his caliber in the present day, Hill did not go ring-chasing, instead preferring to stick with teams that trusted his ability to get the job done.
The following are short summaries of the reasons why the fivesome of Mo Cheeks, Grant Hill, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash and Ray Allen are being inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in September this year:
#1 Steve Nash
An eight-time NBA All-Star and a seven-time All-NBA selection, Nash was named the NBA Most Valuable Player while playing for the Phoenix Suns in back-to-back seasons. Drafted by the Phoenix Suns with the 15th overall pick in the all-time great draft class of 1996, Nash played out the first 8 years of his career as a role player - although he did make an All-Star team with the Mavericks.
It was his move to the Suns as a free agent that helped turn his, and consequently the franchise's fortunes around. They improved from a 29-53 record to a 62-20 record by swapping Stephon Marbury for the Canadian all-timer. Their Seven Seconds or Less offense, crafted by Mike D'Antoni on the drawing boards and executed on the floor with Nash as the predominant ball-handler, led to players like Joe Johnson and James Jones having career defining seasons.
For a spell of 6 seasons out of 7, Nash averaged more than 10 assists per game for the Suns, who made 4 Conference Finals from 2005 to 2010. He retired with 10335 assists to his name following an ill-fated trade to the Los Angeles Lakers, with whom he spent most of his time on the bench, injured.
Nash is the best passer of the 21st century thus far, and he maximized a career built out of efficient shooting combined with his playmaking.