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Basketball HOF announces new candidates: Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade

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Basketball HOF announces new candidates: Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade

The NBA’s all-time winningest coach Gregg Popovich was nominated along with Tony Parker, Dirk Nowitzki, Dwyane Wade and Pau Gasol for the Naismith Hall of Fame

Gregg Popovich has been to the Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony many times over the years, always there to show support for someone on stage.

Next year, maybe his capacity will be different.

The NBA’s all-time winningest coach — who has quietly rebuffed Hall overtures in the past — is among the list of notable first-time nominees for the 2023 class released Wednesday by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich holds the record for the most wins in the NBA

San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich holds the record for the most wins in the NBA

Spurs and France guard Tony Parker played for the San Antonio Spurs from 2001 to 2018 and won four NBA championships under Popovich

Dirk Nowitzki played in Dallas from 1998 to 2019

Former Spurs guard Tony Parker and Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki are also HOF nominees

Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat, is a three-time champion and is also listed among the nominees

Dwyane Wade, of the Miami Heat, is a three-time champion and is also listed among the nominees

Also on the ballot for the first time: Dirk Nowitzki, Tony Parker, Pau Gasol and Dwyane Wade. They are all expected; Popovich was the biggest surprise on the list, as it was unclear until now when he would allow the Hall to list him as a candidate.

‘It’s going to be an incredible moment, really,’ Nowitzki said. ‘I mean, to top everything that has happened here the last couple years and words and accolades that came my way, that will be the ultimate…to be enshrined, hopefully, with the greatest in our game ever.’

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Also on the first-time nominee list: the 1976 US Olympic women’s team, the 1982 Cheyney University women’s basketball team that became the first from a historically Black college or university to play for an NCAA title, and Miami coach Jim Larrañaga — who recently just won his 700th game and led George Mason to a historic run to the Final Four in 2006.

Pau Gasol, who won an NBA ring in 2009&

Pau Gasol, who won back-to-back NBA titles in 2009 and 2010, retired from basketball last year

Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga led George Mason to a historic run to the Final Four in 2006

Miami head coach Jim Larrañaga led George Mason to a historic run to the Final Four in 2006

The finalists from the North American and Women’s committees for the Hall of Fame will be announced during the NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City on February 17.

The entire class of Hall of Famers for 2023 will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in Houston on April 1, and the enshrinement weekend will be on August 11 and 12 in Connecticut and the Hall’s home of Springfield, Massachusetts.

This could be one of the most star-studded classes ever, especially with Parker and Popovich together. Popovich guided San Antonio to five NBA titles, four of them with Parker as the team’s point guard. The other two legs of the Spurs’ Big three from the championship era — Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili — are now Hall of Famers.

The 1976 US Olympic women's team, which won the silver medal, was also a HOF contender

The 1976 US Olympic women’s team, which won the silver medal, was also a HOF contender

Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will be an assistant coach on the USA Basketball team that, if it qualifies, will play in next summer’s World Cup in the Philippines. The induction ceremony will take place shortly before the tournament begins, and Spoelstra is already promising to take an immediate break from his duties on Steve Kerr’s US staff and be in Massachusetts for the big event.

‘I can’t wait because we all know how Dwyane is,’ Spoelstra said. ‘She’s going to throw a party that will be one for the ages.’

The 1976 US women’s team and the Cheyney team will be considered by the women’s veterans direct-elect committee.

There are also 12 candidates to be considered by the international direct-elect committee, 26 candidates to be considered by the contributor direct-elect committee, and 44 candidates for the veterans direct-elect committee — including longtime NBA coach Paul Silas, who died earlier this month.