The 6-foot-10 center who won an NBA title with the Miami Heat was voted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, adding that honor to becoming a board member at his alma mater.
“I didn’t understand the prestige of this university, the global prestige of this university,” Mourning said. “Never in my wildest dreams would I ever thought as a freshman that I would be sitting on the board of that university. Now I’m rubbing elbows with CEOs and billionaires and individuals that helped change this world.”
Mourning was elected along with former NBA star Mitch Richmond and NCAA championship-winning coaches Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams. The women’s team from Immaculata College, which won three straight national championships in the 1970s, also was chosen.
They joined the previously announced class of 2014 that includes retired NBA commissioner David Stern. The induction ceremony is Aug. 8 in Springfield, Mass.
Richardson was honored 20 years after leading Arkansas to the NCAA title over Duke. A former player under the late Hall of Fame coach Don Haskins at Texas Western (now UTEP), Richardson also guided the Razorbacks to the Final Four in 1990 and 1995.
The 72-year-old Richardson couldn’t share the moment with daughter Yvonne Richardson and son Nolan Richardson III. His daughter died of leukemia at 15, and his son and former assistant coach was found dead at his home in Tulsa, Okla., two years ago at the age of 47.
Richardson also remembered several Texas Western teammates who had died.
“I know they would be so happy and delighted,” said Richardson, who hasn’t coached since leaving Arkansas in 2002 and has 509 career victories. “I ask the good Lord to give them the message that things are good and I’ve done all right.”
Williams led Maryland, his alma mater, to the 2002 title with a victory over Indiana. He retired in 2011 with 668 wins, seven 25-win seasons and 22 postseason appearances, including 11 straight trips to the NCAA tournament.
“I was just a coach,” Williams said. “To be able to go in with Nolan certainly is great.”
Mourning was a seven-time NBA All-Star and two-time defensive player of the year who was among the league’s best shot-blockers, while Richmond was an elite scorer who won a title in a secondary role with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2001-02, his final season.
Richmond’s best years were on losing teams in Sacramento. He averaged a career-high 25.9 points for a 34-48 team in 1996-97.
“You can judge me and you can judge my game,” said Richmond, who is 37th on the NBA scoring list at 20,497 points. “I’m a Hall of Famer.”
Lithuania star Sarunas Marciulionis was among several candidates already selected by various committees.
Stern went in via the contributors committee, and former Indiana Pacers coach Bob “Slick” Leonard was chosen by the ABA committee.
The late Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton of the New York Knicks was chosen by the early African-American pioneers committee, and the late Guy Rodgers of Temple by the veterans committee.