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Basketball Hall of Fame Inductees

September 5, 2003 Columns No Comments

The Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2003

by Jed Tai

It’s September, and once again the sport of basketball celebrates some
of the greats in its history with the induction of the Class of 2003 to the
Basketball Hall of Fame this weekend in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Seven members will be enshrined into the hall this year, and six of
them have ties to the collegiate game in some way, shape, or form. They are as
follows (listed in alphabetical order):

Leon Barmore, Louisiana Tech

When you think Lady Techster basketball, the image of head coach Leon
Barmore must come to mind. The all-time winningest coach in women’s basketball
history, Barmore assembled a 576-87 record in a career that spanned over 20
years. The shining moment in his career most likely came during the 1987-88
season, when Barmore led the Lady Techsters to a 32-2 record and a national
championship. But under his guidance, the Louisiana Tech program became one of
the true powerhouses in the women’s game, reaching a total of five title games
and nine NCAA Final Fours. The Lady Techsters had 13 30-win seasons under
Barmore’s watch, the most in NCAA history. Barmore coached 12 All-Americans
and four future Olympians during his tenure at Louisiana Tech.

Chick Hearn, Southern Cal

Everyone knows about Chick Hearn’s legendary status as the voice of the
Los Angeles Lakers. But did you know that Hearn got his start announcing
college games? Before landing his gig with the Lakers, Hearn started his
broadcasting career on the college level. In 1950, Hearn broadcast Bradley
basketball games for a radio station in Peoria, and moving out to the West
Coast in the mid-50’s, served as the voice of USC football and basketball from
1956 to 1961. Even after landing the Lakers gig, he broadcast several UNLV
hoops games from 1977 to 1991. USC has not forgotten Hearn’s contributions and
the USC Annenberg School for Communication has established the USC Annenberg
Chick Hearn Scholarship Fund in honor of the legendary broadcaster.

Meadowlark Lemon, Florida A&M

His tenure there wasn’t long, but George “Meadowlark” Lemon also has
ties to the college game. The “Clown Prince of Basketball” was an all-star
performer on the court and on the gridiron in high school in Wilmington, North
Carolina. After high school he went to Florida A&M, but only lasted there a
short time before heading off to the Army for two years. After returning, he
got in touch with the Globetrotters and the rest has been history. While
dazzling crowds with his antics, Lemon still had a connection to the college
game, as the Globetrotters played in various exhibition games against College
All-American teams in the “World Series of Basketball” series. His #36 has
been retired by the Harlem Globetrotters.

Earl Lloyd, West Virginia State

Lloyd was the first African-American to play in the NBA with the
Washington Capitols in 1950, and earned the shot partly because of his standout
collegiate career at West Virginia State. At WVSC, Lloyd was a three-time
All-Conference selection and was twice named an All-American by the Pittsburgh
Courier his junior and senior seasons. As a sophomore in 1947-48, Lloyd helped
lead WVSC to the only undefeated record in the country, and in both the 1947-48
and 1948-49 seasons, helped lead his team to CIAA conference and tournament
titles. Lloyd has been recognized as one of the CIAA’s all-time greats and has
been elected to the conference’s Hall of Fame. He was also named to the NAIA
Golden Anniversary Team.

Robert Parish, Centenary

Best known as “The Chief” on the Boston Celtics powerhouse teams of the
1980s, Robert Parish was also a very accomplished collegian at Centenary
College in Louisiana. Over his four-year career, the Shreveport native
averaged 21.6 points and 16.9 rebounds, scoring 2334 career points and grabbing
1820 career rebounds – a board total that has yet to be surpassed at the
school. As a senior in 1974-75, Parish led the nation in rebounding at 18
boards a game, and was named a 1st Team All-American by The Sporting News (2nd
Team AP) – even though he played for small school such as Centenary. He was
selected by Golden State as the eighth pick overall of the 1976 NBA Draft and
played with the Warriors for four solid seasons before being traded to the
Celtics, where his legacy was built.

James Worthy, North Carolina

Before “Big Game James” donned the blue and gold and put on his
trademark goggles, James Worthy graced the court in baby blue for the North
Carolina Tar Heels. A high school All-American, Worthy decided to stay at home
in North Carolina and become a Tar Heel. While a broken ankle cut a solid
freshman campaign short, Worthy bounced back and became an All-ACC selection as
a sophomore, helping lead the Tar Heels to the NCAA championship game. It was
as a junior though, that Worthy made his big splash, taking the Tar Heels the
next step in winning the NCAA title. His 28 points helped him earn the
Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player Award, and the consensus First Team
All-American became the #1 overall selection by the Los Angeles Lakers in the
1982 NBA Draft.

The seventh member of the Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2003
inductees is Dino Meneghin. While Meneghin has no ties to the American college
game, he is one of Italy’s all-time greats and is considered one of the
greatest International players ever. His career spanned almost 30 years and he
appeared in four Olympics, and has faced many former NCAA players in European
and International play. He was one of the first international players ever
drafted when he was selected by the Atlanta Hawks in the 1970 NBA Draft.

Congratulations to all of this year’s inductees!


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