Tim Hardaway, Manu Ginobili are among those newly inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame

Tim Hardaway took the podium and told the story of his early days in the NBA, when fellow Golden State teammates Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullen often asked him the same question.

“They’d ask me, ‘Tim, how cool do you want to be?'” Hardaway said. “

They have their answer. So does everyone else. It is an immortal basketball.

Hardaway, Manu Ginobili, Swain Cash, Bob Huggins, Del Harris, Lindsey Wallen, Marian Stanley, Theresa Shank-Grintz and George Carl gave their speeches as the new members of the Basketball Hall of Fame Saturday night in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“A kid from the East Side of Chicago made his way to Springfield, Massachusetts,” Hardaway said. “Fabulous.”

That was the theme all night long: how an honor that none of the new hall members had imagined had now come their way, each one thanking those who helped them reach the top.

Ginobili was introduced by Tim Duncan, already a Hall of Famer himself, and next year the third member of the legendary Big 3 San Antonio players – Tony Parker – will be eligible for selection.

“Spurs were a big, strong and supportive family for me,” said Ginobili.

One day Tottenham coach Greg Popovich will be in the hall too. The NBA winnings leader doesn’t want to be taken into account until his career is over. Ginobili dedicated a special tribute to him.

“Bob, what can I say? You’ve been so important to me and my family, on and off the field, and I will never be able to thank you enough,” Ginobili said in a crackling voice.

Cash — an NCAA, WNBA, and Olympic champion — also paid tribute to her UConn and Hall of Famer coach Geno Auriemma and her fellow Huskies, including the group that went 39-0 during their first season in 2001-02.

“If anyone is discussing the greatest basketball team ever, ask about us,” said Cash, who now works in the front office of the New Orleans Pelicans.

Duncan and Ginobili weren’t the only pals in the building. Stanley and Shank Grintz were teammates at Immacolata in the 1970s, before they moved on to coaching jobs—and now, the hall, together.

“It’s the privilege of a lifetime,” Stanley said.

“I’m still confused,” added Shank Grentz, who, like all recruits, learned of her choice in April.

Wallen, whose legendary playing career followed after returning to Minnesota’s alma mater and training there, may have earned her first Hall of Fame thanks to a fast food company.

“Thank you, Burger King,” said Wallen.

To clarify: When Whalen—a trans hockey player—was going to her first basketball camp, she was anxious, crying, and didn’t want to go to the gym. But her parents paid for the camp and did not allow her to return, so negotiations proceeded quickly. The agreement was eventually concluded. If Whalen goes to camp, you’ll get a Whopper Jr. , with cheese, to go home.

“I ended up having a great time,” Wallen said.

Her parents did not want her to play hockey, which is her destiny. For Harris, it was a college professor who would encourage him to spend a year coaching his junior basketball team before joining the school.

Harris was to become a pastor; Ironically, the founder of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, was also a pastor. Instead, Harris followed another set of Naismith’s footsteps as coach.

“After that year, I knew what I wanted to do with my life,” said Harris, who has coached at nearly every level—high school, college, NBA, international teams and at the FIBA ​​level.

His way into the hall came from humble beginnings, just as Huggins — who now coaches at his alma mater, West Virginia, and won more than 900 games in his college career — and Carl, who was emotional as he praised Dean Smith, his college coach in North Carolina, laughed when he spoke On the challenge of coaching a Hall of Famer as Gary Payton.

“It’s really unbelievable for a guy from Pennsylvania,” Karl said. This is a ‘wow’ moment for me.

Huggins even did some training as he paid tribute during his speech to Jerry Colangelo, president of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

“You’re allowed to clap, I think,” Huggins said. “I’m not really sure about the rules, but what the hell, let’s put it in as we go forward.”

Hardaway, Richmond, and Mullen formed the trio known as Run TMC, which remains popular today. Mullen entered the hall in 2011, three years after Richmond. And they were on stage Saturday night, seated to Hardaway’s left, when his wait was finally over.

“Legendary, darling,” Hardaway said. “We were legendary.”

Seven new members of the hall were also honored, all deceased: one of the NBA’s first black referees, Hugh Evans; six-time All-Star Lou Hudson; Former coach Larry Costello. the great international Radivoj Korac; and a trio of former Harlem Globetrotters at White “Sonny” Boswell, Anman Jackson, and Albert “Ronte” Bollins.

And a special honor for the singer was twice in the Hall of Fame Bill Russell, who succeeded in this as a player and then as a coach. Russell passed away earlier this year, and the party kicked off Saturday with Hall of Famers Jerry West and Alonzo Mourning paying respects to the 11-time champion.

“Bill was the ultimate contender on the court and he was a wonderful human being outside of it,” West said. “And in his own way, he made all the life he touched a little better. That is why he will be missed, especially by those who were fortunate enough to know him.”

“Rest in power, my friend,” added Al-Haddad, who spoke of Russell’s work as a champion of social justice.