Basketball Hall of Fame 2018: Ceremony Recap, Speech Highlights and Reaction

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 8, 2018

SPRINGFIELD, MA - SEPTEMBER 7: Inductee Grant Hill speaks during the 2018 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony on September 7, 2018 at Symphony Hall 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 2018 NBAE (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame welcomed 13 new members into the sport's most exclusive club during an enshrinement ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Friday night. 

Icons Jason Kidd, Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Grant Hill headlined the class of 2018, along with Philadelphia 76ers great Maurice Cheeks, WNBA legend Tina Thompson and European standout Dino Radja. 

Other honorees were Charles "Lefty" Driesell, Charlie Scott, Ora Mae Washington, Rod Thorn, Rick Welts and Katie Smith. 

Below, we'll spotlight the evening's top speeches and look back on the achievements of the players who defined one of the most compelling eras in NBA history. 

                                  

Ray Allen, SG

Speech Highlights

Bio

Ray Allen will forever be remembered as one of the most lethal sharpshooters in NBA history. 

The No. 5 overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft, Allen spent 18 years in the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks, Seattle SuperSonics, Boston Celtics and Miami Heat. 

A 10-time All-Star, Allen won two NBA titles (2008, 2013), and his game-tying three-pointer in Game 6 of the 2013 Finals against the San Antonio Spurs is likely to be seared into the memories of hoops fans forever. 

Allen finished his prolific run in the pros with averages of 18.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 40.0 percent from three. He retired as the NBA's all-time leader in three-point field goals with 2,973.  

The University of Connecticut product also picked up a gold medal as a member of the 2000 Olympic team that defeated France in the tournament final.  

                                  

Grant Hill, G/F

Speech Highlights

  

Bio

At his peak, Grant Hill was one of the most dominant and unique playmakers in the NBA. 

A point forward before the term was en vogue, Hill put together six sensational seasons with the Detroit Pistons after they selected him third overall in the 1994 draft. During that stretch, Hill averaged 21.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 6.3 assists and 1.6 steals per game. 

The Pistons traded Hill to the Orlando Magic in 2000, but his career would never be the same. He battled persistent ankle injuries upon arriving in Florida, and he appeared in just 47 games over his first three seasons with the Magic before sitting out the entire 2003-04 campaign. 

However, Hill returned to All-Star form for the 2004-05 season and churned out quality numbers before signing with the Phoenix Suns in 2007. 

All told, Hill finished his career by averaging 16.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.1 assists and 1.2 steals per game while shooting 48.3 percent from the field. 

A member of the Duke Blue Devils fraternity, Hill also threw one of the most famous passes in basketball history when he launched a full-court heave to Christian Laettner—who nailed a turnaround jumper and stunned the Kentucky Wildcats in the 1992 East Regional final. 

As it turns out, that moment served as a launching pad to a career that included 1994-95 Rookie of the Year honors, seven All-Star nods and five All-NBA selections.  

                                                   

Jason Kidd, PG

Speech Highlights

  

Bio

It's hard to find a resume more impressive than Jason Kidd's. 

Selected second overall in the 1994 draft, Kidd transformed from a traditional pass-first floor general into an all-around dynamo over the course of his 19-year career that included stops with the Dallas Mavericks, Phoenix Suns, New Jersey Nets and New York Knicks. 

Kidd ended up with 10 All-Star nods, five assist titles, six All-NBA selections and nine appearances on various All-Defensive teams. Kidd was also a member of the 2010-11 Mavericks team that stunned a Miami Heat juggernaut led by LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in the NBA Finals. 

At the time of his induction, Kidd ranks second all-time in assists (12,091) and steals (2,684) behind fellow Hall of Famer John Stockton. 

Kidd also developed into a steady shooter from long distance and ranks ninth in career three-pointers made (1,988). 

                                

Steve Nash, PG 

Speech Highlights

Bio

Steve Nash helped shape modern NBA offenses as we know them during his time with Mike D'Antoni's Seven Seconds or Less Phoenix Suns. 

After Nash was traded from Phoenix—who selected him 15th overall in 1996—to Dallas in 1998, he returned to the desert in 2004 as a free agent and solidified himself as one of the most electric offensive players of his generation. 

A two-time MVP (2004-05 and 2005-06), Nash racked up six of his eight All-Star appearances during his second stint with the Suns. He also led the league in assists five times over that eight-year period. 

Nash closed out his career as one of four players—along with Kidd, Stockton and Magic Johnson—to register at least 17,000 points and 10,000 assists over the course of his NBA tenure. 

Nash is also regarded as one of the most efficient shooters ever with career shooting splits of .490/.428/.904. In fact, he's one of seven players who has ever qualified for the NBA's esteemed 50/40/90 club. The other six are Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Reggie Miller, Mark Price, Dirk Nowitzki and Larry Bird. 

                                         

Best of the Rest

Maurice Cheeks

Tina Thompson

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