Paul Pierce and Antawn Jamison cast an enduring friendship after they arrived in St. Louis in April 1995 for the McDonald’s All-American Sport, the standard showcase for one of the best highschool basketball gamers within the nation.
It lasted by their faculty years, when Pierce starred at Kansas and Jamison for fellow blueblood North Carolina. And it endured by lengthy NBA careers, Pierce’s spent principally with Boston and Jamison having bounced across the league.
They rekindled it this weekend, too, when Pierce and Jamison led a seven-man class that included Hersey Hawkins and the late Len Bias that was inducted into the Nationwide School Basketball Corridor of Fame.
“We performed one another within the NBA for 16 years,” Jamison mentioned. “There’s at all times been a mutual respect for one another, by all of the battles we had. We fashioned a friendship and seeing him within the All-Star Sport or simply coming to Los Angeles, after we had been in the identical facility or similar restaurant, we at all times confirmed respect for one another.
“For me to enter the Corridor of Fame with him,” Jamison mentioned, “it simply made it extra particular.”
Pierce and Jamison had been hardly the one stars that emerged from that well-known McDonald’s All-American Sport. Kevin Garnett skipped faculty for NBA greatness, whereas Vince Carter, Stephon Marbury, Chauncey Billups, Ron Mercer and Shareef Abdur-Rahim had been amongst those that parlayed distinctive faculty careers into standout skilled ones.
“It is actually been surreal understanding that I have been capable of go away my mark on the sport of basketball at just about each degree,” Pierce mentioned. “As a child rising up, I do not understand how a lot you consider it. You simply work as onerous as you may and on the finish of the day, you see the place you find yourself. However to be honored on the NBA degree and the school degree, it is only a testomony to the onerous work that you simply put in.”
Whereas Pierce and Jamison chased nationwide titles for conventional faculty powers, Hawkins took a decidedly completely different path. The self-described “momma’s boy” headed a couple of hours south to Peoria, the place after enjoying middle for Chicago’s Westinghouse Excessive Faculty he was given the chance to play taking pictures guard at Bradley.
Hawkins wound up beginning all 125 video games he performed for the Braves, scoring 3,008 factors and main the nation with an eye-popping 36.3 factors per recreation in 1987-88. He was additionally a member of the 1988 Olympic staff that captured the bronze medal earlier than a distinguished NBA profession that spanned 13 seasons.
“That is the head of all of it, being inducted into the Corridor of Fame,” Hawkins mentioned. “It has been an honor, particularly to take a look at the group of men I went into the Corridor of Fame with. It is simply been great to have a good time with them.”
Bias is remembered as a lot for the tragic circumstances surrounding his demise as his enjoying profession, the place he was a four-year star for Maryland within the mid-Eighties. He was picked second general by the Celtics within the 1986 draft, then returned house and attended an off-campus get together the place he died of cardiac arrhythmia induced by a cocaine overdose.
“If you speak about legacy, I take into consideration how he died,” mentioned his mom, Lonise Bias, “and one of many issues I inform younger individuals, when you could have a dream and also you’re making an attempt to succeed in the highest, you must be cognizant of who’s in your realm of affect and being cautious in regards to the selections you make. I attempt to impress upon them the significance of understanding they should take excellent care of themselves, and self-preservation is the primary legislation of nature.”
Additionally inducted had been longtime Belmont coach Rick Byrd, who gained greater than 800 video games earlier than retiring in 2019; Tom Penders, who led Fordham to the NIT and Texas, Houston, Rhode Island and George Washington to the NCAA Event; and David Greenwood, a two-time Pac-10 participant of the yr for UCLA.
The category was honored throughout a gala weekend that included the Corridor of Fame Basic on Monday night time at T-Cell Heart, the place No. 14 Illinois performed Cincinnati and No. 13 Arkansas confronted Kansas State within the semifinals.
“Any time you may name your self a Corridor of Famer, it speaks volumes to all of the those that had a chunk of that,” Jamison mentioned, “from the academics to the dad and mom, however most necessary for me coach (Invoice) Guthridge, coach (Dean) Smith, my teammates on the College of North Carolina. It has been a privilege to be right here with these inductees.