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Mohegan Sun Hosts the Hall of Famous

African American news - sports news on Hall of FamersThe celebration was awesome. The venue was perfect and the invitees were out of this world. They were the newest members of the Basketball Hall of Fame. Mohegan Tribal Chairman Bruce 'Two Dogs' Bozsum began the evening with a spiritual invocation that included sage burning. Bozsum has a way of bringing out a spiritual atmosphere.

Among them were Dr. Jerry Buss and Cynthia Cooper. They are two Southern Cal people that took different paths to the hall. Buss was a contributor as owner of the Los Angeles Lakers since 1979. His first year as owner he claimed his first NBA title as a well known rookie named Magic Johnson came on to the scene and delivered the first of five championships in the eighties. Buss, a USC graduate, has built one of the most successful organizations in the history of professional sports. The Lakers have won 10 NBA championships and 17 Western Conference titles during his tenure.

Cooper entered the hall as a player. She was a true talent coming from South Los Angeles who played locally at Will Rodgers Park and with the Sugar Ray Robinson Foundation. She led the University of Southern California to two NCAA titles. As a member of the Houston Comets, she won the WNBA's first four Championships and was named WNBA Finals MVP each time. She won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1988 to go along with two FIBA Women's World Championship Gold Medals.  "It's a dream I could have never dreamed," Cooper said of her selection to the Hall of Fame. "But it came true."

Some other class inductees included Bob Hurley Sr. Legendary High School Coach out of St Anthony's in New Jersey. Hurley has earned National Coach honors three times. They go with three High School National Championships, twenty-five State Championships and five undefeated seasons, all while compiling a .900 winning average.

Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen were also inducted, along with two celebrated teams: the 1960 US Men's Olympic team and the 1992 US Men's Olympic team, known as the "Dream Team". The Class of 2010 also includes three legendary players: Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson and international star Maciel "Ubiratan" Pereira, all of whom will be honored posthumously.

Pippen and Malone were members of the 1992 "Dream Team" along with Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Charles Barkley.

Magic Johnson who had a few words reminisced on the time in Spain. "We want to say thank you to coach Chuck Daly because he was the architect that put it all together. He made sure we checked our ego at the door. He made sure we were about playing with one another. I'd like to thank Charles Barkley. He was the best player in all those games. I thank David Robinson for always controlling the middle and making sure no one came down the middle. I want to thank John Stockton for always being under control and throwing the prettiest bounce passes. I want to thank Karl Malone as he threw down the middle and everybody just moved out of the way saying 'I'm not going to take this charge'. I want to thank Scottie Pippen. Scottie wanted to guard everybody on defense."

"We had fun every day," Barkley said of the experience in Barcelona. "There were no egos."

Jerry West spoke for the members of the 1960 Olympic team that won a gold medal in Rome, "The experience was a singular moment in his lifetime."

"It's so gratifying to share this with my teammates," West said of the squad that included Oscar Robertson, Jerry Lucas and Walt Bellamy. "The greatest thrill of my life was to win a gold medal."

The 1960 team and the 1992 Dream team will have several comparisons for many years to come. However, the best quote by anyone was Dream team member, Larry Bird.

"I don't know who had the best team," said Bird. "But I do know the team in 1960 was a hell of a lot tougher than we were. I couldn't imagine the 92 team getting in a covered wagon for eight days, ride across the country, jump in the Atlantic Ocean and swim for six days, then walk three thousand miles to the Coliseum in Rome for a dollar a day."

 

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