The 2009 NBA Hall of Fame class was announced earlier today in Detroit. This class will be led by the greatest player of all time, Michael Jordan. Utah Jazz coach Jerry Sloan, former Jazz point guard John Stockton, woman's NCAA coach C. Vivian Stringer, and former No. 1 overall pick and San Antonio Spur great David Robinson join Jordan in this year's class.
Jordan is undeniably the greatest player ever. His accomplishments go way beyond his statistics. His story has been told too many times. He is one of only seven players ever to win a national championship in college, an NBA Championship and an Olympic Gold Medal.
He won two of those Olympic Gold Medals. The first at the conclusion of his collegiate career in the summer of 1984 under Bob Knight and the second as a member of the Dream Team in 1992.
He and Scottie Pippen were the only two players that played on all six of the Chicago Bulls championship teams in the 1990's. If not for Jordan's year and half retirement in the middle of the those runs, the Bulls might have matched the Boston Celtics title runs of the 1960s.
If Bird and Magic saved the NBA, then Jordan Globalized it.
Sloan is being inducted into the Hall based on his coaching accomplishment, but he was a great player before that. While Jordan is the most identifiable Chicago Bull, Sloan is considered the franchise's first player. He was the first player the team ever drafted.
Sloan's 20 years coaching the Jazz is the longest tenured coached with one franchise. He has 1,136 career wins and he is the only coach to ever win over 1,000 games with one franchise.
Stockton enters the Hall as one of the best point guards in NBA history. His 15,806 assists and 3,265 steals rank first in NBA history. He teamed with Karl Malone to form one of the greatest tandems in NBA History. They led the Jazz to the NBA Finals twice. Both times they lost to Jordan's Bulls.
Stockton played on the U.S. Olympic Gold Medal winning teams in 1992 and 1996. He is also a member of the NBA's 50th anniversary team.
Robinson was selected with the first pick in the 1988 NBA Draft after leading Navy to unprecedented heights. After Robinson honored his Navy commitment, he was named the 1990 NBA Rookie of the Year.
Like Stockton and Jordan, Robinson was a member of the 1992 dream team and 50th anniversary team. He also earned Gold in 1996. He was also a member of the bronze medal 1988 team.
Robinson earned one MVP award and was named the college player of the year in 1987. He and Tim Duncan led the Spurs to NBA Championships in 1999 and 2003.
Stringer has developed a legendary career at Cheney State, Iowa, and Rutgers. She was the first woman's coach to lead two schools to the Final Four and the first from either men's or women's to lead three schools to the Final Four.
Stringer's 800-plus career wins rank third all time in the women's game. She is also a member of the Women's Baksetball Hall of Fame.