Minneapolis, MN The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 12 honorees in the Class of 2019. Honorees will be celebrated September 5-7, 2019 during this year’s Enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts.
This year’s class includes two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch, eight-time NBA All-Defensive First Team member Bobby Jones, five-time NBA All-Star Sidney Moncrief, seven-time NBA All-Star Jack Sikma, five-time WNBA All-Star Teresa Weatherspoon, five-time NBA All-Star Paul Westphal and the first men’s collegiate team to win back-to-back-to-back Championships, the Tennessee A&I Teams of 1957-1959.
Distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game also selected five directly elected enshrinees. They include Al Attles from the Contributor Committee, Charles “Chuck” Cooper from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Vlade Divac from the International Committee, Carl Braun from the Veterans Committee and the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens of 1948-1982 from the newly instated Women’s Veterans Committee.
To be elected, North American and Women’s Committee finalists must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Direct elect committees are incorporated into the election process to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting procedures and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball.
The Class of 2019 will be enshrined on Friday, September 6 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
TENNESSEE A&I TEAMS OF 1957-59 [Team] -- With Hall of Fame coach John McLendon at the helm, the Tennessee A&I teams of 1957, 1958 and 1959 were the first to win back-to-back-to-back championships in any college division. Known for their fast-breaking and extreme discipline, they dominated their opponents with high scoring and smothering defense. Led on the court by John “Rabbit” Barnhill and Dick Barnett, the team also broke social barriers as they traveled to national tournaments and challenged segregation. Tennessee A&I has since been renamed Tennessee State.
AL ATTLES [Contributor] – A native of New Jersey, Attles followed his collegiate career at North Carolina A&T by joining the Philadelphia Warriors – now Golden State from 1960-71 as a player. Since then, he has held numerous roles in the franchise including coach (1970-83), team executive and ambassador to the community. He led the organization to an NBA Championship in 1975 and is one of five Warriors to have his number retired. Attles has been with the Warriors' in one capacity or another for nearly 60 years. In 2014, Attles received the Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award from the Basketball Hall of Fame.
CHARLES “CHUCK” COOPER [Player] -- Recognized posthumously, Cooper was born in 1926 in Pittsburgh and played collegiately at West Virginia State University before being drafted in the Navy. He returned to school at Duquesne University (1946-50) where he was an All-American (1950) and the first African American to play in a college basketball game south of the Mason-Dixon line. Cooper briefly joined the Harlem Globetrotters upon graduation, and soon after was the first African-American to be drafted by an NBA team, Red Auerbach’s Boston Celtics. The NBA color barrier was broken in 1950 season by Cooper, Earl Lloyd and Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton.