There are many awards in pro basketball. The best player each year wins the Most Valuable Player Award. The best first-year player is named Rookie of the Year. There is also an award for the Best Defensive Player and for the Coach of the Year. But the most important award a basketball player can receive is a spot in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The Hall of Fame is named after James Naismith, who invented the game of basketball at the Springfield, Massachusetts YMCA in 1891. Because of this, the Hall of Fame is located in Springfield.
Only the very best players and coaches get elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. It is a way to honor the game's all-time greats and to celebrate their many achievements. This year, five people were elected to the Hall of Fame: Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton, Jerry Sloan and Vivian C. Stringer.
Jordan is known as perhaps the best player in basketball history. Before retiring in 2003, Jordan won six NBA Championships with the Chicago Bulls and is third on the NBA's all-time scoring list. David Robinson was a great center for the San Antonio Spurs. He played for the Naval Academy in college and earned the nickname "The Admiral" during his long playing career, which also ended in 2003. He was a 10-time All-Star and won two NBA Championships with the Spurs. Stockton was one of the best point guards of all time. He played for the Utah Jazz from 1984 to 2003 and recorded nearly 16,000 assists.
Sloan and Stringer are two very famous coaches. Sloan is the coach of the Jazz and was Stockton's coach when he played. He is the only coach to ever win more than 1,000 games with only one team. Stringer coaches the women's basketball team at Rutgers University. She has led three different teams to the Final Four and is in third place for all-time wins for women's college basketball coaches.
The Hall of Fame is a very special place to visit. Fans get to learn about the history of basketball and its greatest players and coaches. Every person enshrined in Springfield did something to improve the game of basketball. Since Jordan was such a great player, lots of fans wanted to watch him and he helped make the game more popular throughout the World. Coaches like Sloan and Stringer have been able to help many, many athletes learn more about the game and become better players.
Congratulations to the 2009 Basketball Hall of Fame class. These five players and coaches truly made basketball more fun for fans!
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