SPRINGFIELD, MA. — John Chaney was humble.
But it was not just another victory for the ageless Owl.
This time the celebrated Temple coach was being enshrined into history.
Chaney, Duke Coach Mike Kryzyzewski, and former Sixer Moses Malone were inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame last Friday.
This honor was a lifetime dream for Chaney. However, he had not expected to be inducted so quickly.
“I figured I’d get in this place somewhere down the road,” Chaney said. “But when they called from the Hall I couldn’t believe it. It really didn’t hit me until I got here and I looked at the faces of these guys that are in the Hall of Fame. It is awesome.”
Each player was asked to select a current Hall of Fame member to sponsor them into the Hall. Chaney selected former Georgetown Coach John Thompson, Kryzyzewski picked his former coach at Army, Bobby Knight, and Malone picked former Sixers superstar Julius Erving.
Thompson spoke before presenting Chaney during the ceremony.
“He is a tremendous teacher,” Thompson said. “John has done a tremendous job in directing young men in the right direction.”
Chaney spoke for 38 minutes at the ceremony.
Knight expressed his feelings for Chaney and how he has affected so many in his years playing and coaching basketball.
“John was like I was,” said Knight. “You played and you coached and maybe you didn’t think about anything else. John’s story in coaching is one of the great ones: The public league in Philadelphia, Cheyney State and Temple.”
“The inner city kids he has affected might not have had a chance to do anything without John. John should be one of the most respected coaches that have ever been in the game because of where he’s been and what he’s done,” said Knight.
Knight placed emphasis on Kryzyzewski induction solely on the people who he works with on a daily basis.
“I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for some really good players and assistants,” Kryzyzewski said. “It is a team effort. One of the great things about basketball is that we get to work with limited amounts of kids each year. So the end result is you form really good relationships with these kids.”
Coach Kryzyzewski equates his life to an ongoing train that keeps moving as life goes on.
“The key members on my train have been my family,” Kryzyzewski said. “The most important person on that train is my wife. She has been my partner. She has sacrificed a lot of her abilities so that she could complement mine. As my train goes into the Hall of Fame with my players, assistants, and my family, the person I want to be in the front car is my wife.”
Moses Malone was the first player to go from high school to the NBA.
Erving, who presented Malone, said that not only was Malone a great player on the court, he had knowledge off the court as well.
“I remember Moses rushing off the court after a game to take a shower,” Erving said. “He would be the first out of the shower and then he would plop down on a stool and read all the players a riot act as we came into the showering area. He had a great basketball mind trying to tell us what we did right or wrong on the court.”