Completing one of the unique couple weeks in basketball history, George Raveling will officially be given the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award by the Hall of Fame in ceremonies Saturday night in Springfield, Mass., as part of a weekend of festivities that culminate with the Class of 2013 inductions the next day.
The former coach and current director of international basketball at Nike was recently in the news, on the 50th anniversary of the historic address by Martin Luther King Jr., as the owner of the original copy of the “I have a dream” speech. Raveling was a young security volunteer standing steps away from the podium who asked for the written version as King left the podium and King handed it to the assistant coach at Villanova. Raveling has since turned down offers of more than $3 million to sell, the Washington Post reports, and has willed the papers to his children on the condition they do not sell.
Ten days later, he will receive the Hall’s most prestigious honor outside of induction, an award designed to recognize accomplishments that have impacted the game at any level. Previous winners have included players, coaches, contributors, executives from the NBA and college, and even a team, the Harlem Globetrotters in 1999.
Raveling, named the winner in February, was cited for going beyond coaching basketball and working as a mentor to educate players about life. His resume’ includes working as an assistant at Villanova and Maryland before becoming head coach at Washington State, Iowa and USC. He was also an assistant on two U.S. Olympic teams and worked as a television analyst.
Raveling will be saluted during ceremonies that will include Magic Johnson, former Tennessee women’s coach Pat Summitt and youth-sports advocate Boo Williams receiving the Mannie Jackson-Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. They were singled out from the pro game, the amateur ranks and the “grassroots” level, respectively, for the honor that respectively for the .
Johnson, the former Lakers superstar, was recognized for his community work in Los Angeles and beyond. Summitt’s 2011 announcement that she was battling early-onset dementia, eventually forcing her to retire after eight national championships, raised money and awareness in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease. Williams founded the Boo Williams Summer League in Virginia in 1982, helped fund the Boo Williams Sportsplex there and is credited with coaching and mentoring more than 2,500 boys and girls.
Also Saturday, Eddie Doucette (electronic) and John Feinstein (print) will be given the Curt Gowdy Media Award. Doucette spent 16 years as the original voice of the Bucks and had covered the NBA as a whole for more than 30 years for various networks. Feinstein authored “A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers” among many basketball books and has chronicled the game, focusing on the college ranks, most notably for the Washington Post and Sports Illustrated.