In 1891, James Naismith, a physical education teacher from Springfield, Massachusetts, was tasked with creating a physical activity to keep athletes indoors during the frigid New England winter. His idea was revolutionary — a simple game where you shoot a medium-sized ball into peach baskets nailed to the railing of the gym balcony. This would be the first rendition of the game that transcends global sports today — basketball. 

From short shorts to baggy shorts, a simple weave-and-layup offense to 30-foot shots and windmill dunks, the game has truly developed since its inception. As the game grew in popularity, basketball did not just serve as a symbol of American sports but as a global icon in realms such as fashion and music. Over time, the National Basketball Association has established itself as the premier basketball league, but leagues worldwide feature international talent. 

On Saturday, Sept. 10, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, held its annual Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony for the class of 2022. Initially founded in 1959, the Hall of Fame honors figures in the basketball world who made monumental contributions to the sport. Individuals may be inducted as a player, coach, referee, or contributor. 

Before this year's ceremony, the Hall of Fame paid tribute to the late Bill Russell, who passed away in late July at the age of 88. A pioneer in the sport of basketball, Russell was the living embodiment of a champion: winning 11 total NBA championships, nine as a player and two as a coach, all with the Boston Celtics. A trailblazer, Russell broke barriers by becoming the first Black coach of an NBA team when he took over for the Celtics in 1966 as a player-coach.  Although his skills and impact on the court were remarkable, his actions off the court are what truly made Russell immortal. Throughout his life, Russell was a leader in the fight against racial inequality and used his voice until his passing. He made monumental strides in his advocacy and continues serving as a role model for generations. These outstanding accomplishments outside of basketball led him to be awarded the highest civilian award in the country, The Presidential Medal of Freedom, by former President Barack Obama in 2011.

This year’s class is diverse, featuring 13 individuals who truly made contributions to the sport through their illustrious careers. These champions, greats, legends, and trendsetters all made their mark and deserve receiving the highest honor in their craft. Headlining the class are the following:

Manu Ginobili, a four-time NBA champion with the San Antonio Spurs, who embodied what it meant to be a trendsetter. In his 16 seasons in the NBA, all with the Spurs, Ginobili was a two-time All-Star, a two-time member of the All-NBA third team, and popularized a move widely used today known as the “euro step.” Coming off the bench to be used as the sixth man, Ginobili embraced this role and established himself as one of the greatest sixth men of all time. As a member of Argentina’s national team, Ginobili led Argentina to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympic Games, becoming the first team to dethrone the unstoppable United States. In 2008, Ginobili returned to the Olympic hardwood, claiming a bronze medal. 

Tim Hardaway, a five-time All-Star and member of five All-NBA teams, was a player who defined 90’s basketball. As one of the league's top guards, Hardaway was known for his shifty dribbling and passing ability. At this moment, Hardaway stands as 18th in the all-time assists leaders. His 13-year NBA career was spent on five different teams, but he made his mark as a member of the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. As a member of the U.S. National Team, Hardaway won a gold medal in the 2000 Olympic Games. 

Swin Cash, a three-time WNBA champion, is regarded as one of the most influential players to come through the WNBA. Known to be able to do it all on the court, Cash was a four-time WNBA All-Star and a 2-time member of the All-WNBA second team. Dominant at every level of basketball, Cash led her University of Connecticut Huskies to two national championships and the U.S. National Team to two Olympic gold medals in the 2004 and 2012 Olympic Games. She was also named to the WNBA’S 25th-anniversary team last year and inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021.

Lindsay Whalen, a four-time WNBA champion, was no stranger to accolades. A five-time WNBA All-Star, three-time member of the All-WNBA first team, and two-time member of the All-WNBA second team, Whalen was a force to be reckoned with during her playing career. Starting her career as a member of the Connecticut Suns, Whalen found her stride as a member of the Minnesota Lynx, where she achieved her championships. She was also a member of the U.S. National team, winning two gold medals as a member of the 2012 and 2016 Olympic teams.

George Karl spent 27 seasons as a coach in the NBA. With a record of 1,175-824, Karl ranks as the sixth most winningest coach in the history of the NBA. In those 27 seasons, Karl only managed to miss the playoffs five times. Coaching for six teams, Karl was named the NBA’s Coach of the Year in 2013 as the Head Coach for the Denver Nuggets.

Bob Huggins, a prominent figure in college basketball, spent 37 seasons as a Division 1 coach. He rotated around, spending most of his time with Walsh, Akron, Cincinnati, and Kansas State, and as of 2007 is the Head Coach at West Virginia. Under his command, his teams have made 25 March Madness berths and two final four appearances. He currently stands as the eighth most winningest coach in Division 1 history, with an outstanding record of 844-374 in his career. 

Marianne Stanely, a long-time women’s basketball coach, extended her career at multiple levels. She contributed 22 seasons as a collegiate coach across multiple programs, including Old Dominion, University of Pennsylvania, University of Southern California, Stanford, and California. In 1985, she led Old Dominion to win the national championship. In 2002, she took over as the Head Coach for the Washington Mystics, earning WNBA Coach of the Year honors that year. 

Rounding out the class are Lou Hudson, Del Harris, Larry Costello, Hugh Evans, Theresa Shank Grentz and Radivoj Korac. Each individual made monumental contributions to basketball in their own right and established themselves among the standouts of the sport. Becoming a member of the Hall of Fame is the highest honor one can achieve in the sport and truly cements their legacy as immortals.