Pranav Ramasubramanian | September 6th, 2019
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame gave out orange Hall of Fame Jackets to the Class of 2019 inductees and those representing the inductees at a formal press conference sponsored by Haggar yesterday afternoon. The twelve 2019 inductees are Al Attles, Carl Braun, Chuck Cooper, Vlade Divac, Bill Fitch, Bobby Jones, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Tennessee A&I teams of 1957-1959, Wayland Baptist Flying Queens 1948-1982, Teresa Weatherspoon, and Paul Westphal. Here’s what some of them had to say after the event.
Jack Sikma, Former Power Foward/Center for the Seattle SuperSonics and Milwaukee Bucks
Question: Who was the one person you loved to play against because you knew you could use the Sikma move effectively against them?
Answer: I don’t know if there was just one, but it was a basis of my game and I think the longer guys maybe were a little tougher on it. The Sikma move was very effective against undersized centers because they couldn’t get to it.
Sidney Moncrief, Former Point guard/Shooting guard for the Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks
Question: How much did Don Nelson mold your career?
Answer: He molded my NBA career completely because he took advantages of matchups well making him the best matchup coach in the history of the game. He saw my skillsets and he saw things I could do and couldn’t do ultimately deciding to take advantages of what I could do best, which was playing in the post and playing along the baseline as well. I don’t think I would be in the Hall of Fame without Don Nelson because of how much of a better player I became with his coaching.
Vlade Divac, Former Serbian League, and NBA Center for Sloga, Partizan, Los Angeles Lakers, Charlotte Hornets, Crvena Zvezda, and Sacramento Kings
Question: Did playing with talented teammates like Mike Bibby and Chris Webber elevate your game as you were a better player with the Kings or was it a product of being surrounded by better talent?
Answer: Magic Johnson was definitely talented, but I see it more as I was more mature with the Kings because it was a different team and different era. The teams that I played for had a lot of talent so I was happy wherever I went.
Question: What knowledge did you gain from those former coaches, players or front office members before you joined the Sacramento Kings as a GM? Anything from Magic?
Answer: Basketball is a game that brings people together and I was lucky to be around people like Magic like you mentioned so I was well-prepared for things that happened later on in my career.
Bobby Jones, Former Small Forward/Power Forward for the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers
Question: Who’s the toughest player you’ve guarded?
Answer: There’s a lot of them, but some of them are Bernard King, Kevin McHale, Larry Bird, and Julius Erving from the ABA days. Another key mention would be George Gervin‘s early release finger roll, which was hard to get a piece of along with the combination of Gervin being quick and deceptive.
Paul Westphal, Former Point guard/Shooting guard for the Boston Celtics, Phoenix Suns, Seattle SuperSonics and New York Knicks
Question: What would you define as the best moment of your career?
Answer: The only thing I could say to that question is to be able to have this career and to be a part of all the teams and people that I met. There is no one time it’s just to be able to be blessed enough to have the career that I had is what stands out most for me.
Unfortunately, the audio will be unavailable for these particular interviews as all audio rights have been reserved towards the Basketball Hall of Fame and the NBA. A special thanks to Nicole Taylor for this opportunity and for not only putting together a great press conference for family, friends and the media with the presenting of the orange jackets but also conducting a well-organized breakout interview session for the media with ease. The official Enshrinement ceremony is tonight on NBATV with coverage starting at 6:30 pm ET/3:30 PT so get ready to witness the inductees give their speeches alongside other Hall of Famers!
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