Monday , Apr , 03 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Barkley headlines 2006 Basketball Hall of Fame class

Indianapolis, IN (Sports Network) – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of
Fame announced its 2006 class on Monday, with a trio of NBA legends, Charles
Barkley, Dominique Wilkins and Joe Dumars, leading the way.

Also selected for induction was University of Connecticut women’s coach Geno
Auriemma, former Big East commissioner Dave Gavitt and European coach Sandro
Gamba.

Barkley, on the ballot for the first time, played for the Philadelphia 76ers,
Phoenix Suns and Houston Rockets during his brilliant 16-year NBA career. He
averaged 22.1 points and 11.7 rebounds per game, was elected to 11 All-Star
games and won an Olympic gold medal in 1992 with the Dream Team. He is a
member of the NBA’s 50th anniversary team and won the 1993 NBA Most Valuable
Player award.

“I want to thank Moses Malone and Dr. J (Julius Erving),” said Barkley. “Those
two guys made me a better player. I think basketball has given me every single
thing in my life.”

Wilkins, better known as “The Human Highlight Film,” played the majority of
his NBA career with the Atlanta Hawks and was a nine-time NBA All-Star and a
two-time NBA Slam Dunk champion. He also played with the Los Angeles Clippers,
Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and Orlando Magic.

“I am truly grateful to the voting members of the Hall of Fame for recognizing
my talents for election to the 2006 Class of Hall of Famers,” said Wilkins.
“And I am proud to be a member of this outstanding group of individuals, many
of whom I played against and had some classic battles. Since my retirement
from basketball, I have waited for this call and am honored to be recognized
as one of the greatest to have ever played the game. I’m truly humbled by this
experience, and I am appreciative of the many coaches and teammates who have
been instrumental throughout my career.”

Dumars, who played his entire NBA career in Detroit, was a six-time All-Star
and helped the Pistons to back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. The MVP
of the 1989 NBA Finals, Dumars currently serves as president of basketball
operations in Detroit.

“When you are a kid you look up to the guys in front of you,” said Dumars.
“You don’t get to this place in life with only one or two people helping you.
I thank my parents for raising me in the manner they did and all the other
people along the way.”

Auriemma has led the Lady Huskies to five national championships, eight Final
Four appearances, two undefeated seasons, 30 or more wins in a season 10 times
and has 17 straight NCAA Tournament appearances. He has been named National
Coach of the Year five times and was enshrined in the Women’s Basketball Hall
of Fame in 2005.

Gavitt first made his impression on the basketball world as the head coach at
Providence College where he lead the team to eight consecutive 20-win seasons,
five NCAA Tournament appearances and one Final Four. He was the first
commissioner of the Big East Conference and served as the Chair of the NCAA
Division I Men’s Basketball Committee from 1982-1984, during which time he was
responsible for the expansion of the tournament to 64 teams and the use of
domed stadiums for the Final Four.

Gamba has coached in Europe for over 30 years and piloted four Italian Olympic
teams including the 1980 silver medal squad. His Italian professional teams
have won five Italian League championships, a European Championship, a
Champions Cup and Cup of Cups title.

The Class of 2006 will be enshrined during ceremonies September 7-9, 2006.