SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Vlade Divac and Jack Sikma were big men who could pass and hit a jump shot, helping redefine the post position in the NBA.
They were the centers of attention Thursday, receiving their orange jackets in advance of today’s induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
They are being enshrined along with Sidney Moncrief, Paul Westphal, Bobby Jones, Al Attles, Carl Braun, Chuck Cooper, Bill Fitch and the WNBA’s Teresa Weatherspoon.
Also entering the shrine are two college teams: the Tennessee A&I men from 1957-59, the first to win three straight titles; and the Wayland Baptist women’s teams that won 131 consecutive games from 1953-58.
Sikma described himself as a skinny kid who grew in his teens from a wing into a 6-10 center.
He said had a hard time playing with his back to the basket when he was drafted by Seattle out of tiny Illinois Wesleyan in 1977.
But he learned to use his mobility to his advantage, developing in college a signature pivot move away from the basket, which finished with an unorthodox over-the-head jumper became nearly unstoppable in the NBA.
He averaged 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists in 14 NBA seasons with the Sonics and Milwaukee Bucks. He also was the only center to lead the league in free throw percentage for a season, shooting 92% from the line in 1987-88.