SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame released its annual list of eligible candidates for the Class of 2023 on Wednesday.
A couple names on the list that haven’t been seen before should be quite familiar to fans in South Florida.
Miami Heat legend Dwyane Wade is among the group of first-time nominees, along with the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Gregg Popovich, Pau Gasol and several others.
Also on the ballot for the first time this year is University of Miami basketball head coach Jim Larranaga.
Both Wade and Larranaga have had significant impacts on their respective basketball clubs in South Florida over the years.
Wade may possibly go down as the best player to ever suit up for the Miami Heat, leading the team to its first five NBA Finals appearances and three NBA Championships.
Larranaga has been the head coach of the University of Miami basketball program since 2011. They won the ACC title and ACC Tournament in 2012-13, have reached the NCAA Tournament five times, advancing to the Sweet 16 twice and to the Elite Eight once.
“I am incredibly honored and humbled to be named a nominee for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. To be considered alongside some of the giants of our game was beyond my wildest dreams when entering this profession over 50 years ago,” Larranaga said in a statement released by the university. “I’d like to deeply thank each of my assistants, staff members and players throughout the years. This recognition would not be possible without them and it demonstrates not what I’ve accomplished, but what we have all done together. I’m so grateful to the administrators and fans who have supported us along the way. I also want to especially thank my wife, Liz, and sons, Jay and Jon, for being by my side through all the highs and lows. I’m excited to continue coaching here at Miami and look forward to further elevating this tremendous program.”
Finalists for the Class of 2023 will be announced during NBA All-Star Weekend on Friday, Feb. 17 in Salt Lake City.
The Class of 2023 will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in Houston on Saturday, April 1.