Tracy McGrady, Bill Self Headline Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2017

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Inductees Rebecca Lobo, George McGinnis and Tracy McGrady smile during the Class of 2017 Press Event as part of the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on September 7, 2017 at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Five months after the 2017 class was announced, the 11 members officially took their place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield, Massachusetts.      

This year's list of inductees included Zack Clayton, Nikos Galis, Mannie Jackson, Tom Jernstedt, Jerry Krause, Rebecca Lobo, George McGinnis, Tracy McGrady, Muffet McGraw and Bill Self. 

McGrady was the headliner of the ceremony. He spent 15 years in the NBA, playing for six different teams. His natural scoring ability made him one of the most lethal players of his era. He led the NBA in scoring twice and was named to seven consecutive All-Star teams from 2001 to 2007. 

Despite that success, McGrady revealed in his speech there were times when he didn't have confidence in himself. 

"I'm grateful for those that saw and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself," McGrady said, per the Basketball Hall of Fame on Twitter

McGrady had no shortage of thanks to give to the people in his life who helped him reach this point, via NBA TV:

Before the ceremony began, Lobo posted a picture on Twitter with another basketball legend:

After her meeting with Larry Bird, Lobo noted her connection with the WNBA runs deeper now than it did during her playing days. 

In addition to showing love for the WNBA, Lobo summed up what Geno Auriemma, who coached her all four years at the University of Connecticut and was her presenter at the ceremony, meant to her life and career.

"You have completely changed my life, and for that I thank you," she said, per Paul Doyle of the Hartford Courant. "I'm here tonight completely because of you."

Krause, the legendary Chicago Bulls general manager from 1985-2003, received a posthumous induction as a contributor. He died in March at the age of 77, but his impact on the NBA can still be felt 14 years after he walked away from the game. 

A controversial figure, Krause built the Bulls teams with head coach Phil Jackson, Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen that won six titles in an eight-year span from 1991-98.

Self, who is head coach at the University of Kansas and has won 623 games in 24 seasons with four different programs, was the first one to take the stage. 

"I am incredibly proud to be the fifth Kansas coach to join the Hall of Fame," Self said, per the Basketball Hall of Fame on Twitter

As impressive as Self's resume is, McGraw's laundry list of accomplishments stacks up with any coach in the history of the sport. She has led Notre Dame to 22 straight NCAA tournament appearances, seven Final Fours and one national title in 2001. 

McGraw is one of 13 women's coaches in NCAA history with at least 800 wins at any level. Despite all of those numbers, she made a point to let the world know it wasn't a solo effort. 

"There isn't anything in life we accomplish on our own," McGraw said, per the Basketball Hall of Fame on Twitter.

On a night filled with heartfelt speeches, Jackson may have had the most emotional of the night. The 78-year-old owner of the Harlem Globetrotters has been one of the most influential figures in sports dating back to his college days at the University of Illinois. 

Jackson, along with Governor Vaughn, were the first African-American players to letter and start for the Illini during the 1957-58 season. 

Since 2007, Jackson's name has been on the annual Human Spirit Award given to the "individual who has found the game of basketball to be a contributing aspect to their personal growth and accomplishment, a place to develop an understanding of others and an avenue that helped shape that individual's growth into a recognized visionary and leader," per the Basketball Hall of Fame

Now, Jackson is in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for all of his accomplishments on and off the court over the past six decades. 

Clayton, who had a brief stint with the Globetrotters and was primarily known for his time with the New York Rens from 1936-46, was another posthumous induction, having died in 1997.

He was part of the "Black Fives Era" in basketball history, the time from 1904-50 when the leagues remained segregated and African-Americans formed their own teams.

According to, basketball games during that era "went beyond the sport itself and became meaningful social events," and the Rens were the best team from 1923-48 with a record of 2,588-529. The Rens also won the first-ever World Championship of Basketball in 1939, defeating the Oshkosh All-Stars, a team in an all-white league.

Among the first-year nominees eligible for induction in 2018 include Jason Kidd, Rasheed Wallace, Grant Hill, Richard Hamilton and Marcus Camby. 

With the 2017 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class now standing among the sport's immortals, next year's class of candidates will anxiously await their chance to join them.