Springfield, MA, United States (4E Sports) – Louisville coach Rick Pitino walked down memory lane during his induction ceremony to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The 60-year-old Pitino promised to limit his speech to seven or eight minutes but talked for 20 minutes as he remembered his humble beginnings at Boston University 30 years ago.
“Back then there was no 20-hour rule,” Pitino said, referencing the NCAA restriction designed to limit the amount of supervised activity required of athletes. “I thought that was the worst rule that the NCAA could ever put in until last night.”
Pitino spent five years with the Terriers then joined the New York Knicks as an assistant for two years. He also coached for two years at Providence before rejoining the Knick as head coach for two years.
After that, he spent eight years with Kentucky, four with the Boston Celtics and the past 12 seasons with Louisville. To date, Pitino has 664 college wins and two NCAA titles.
During his speech, Pitino said he never had a bad day on the job at Kentucky, despite repeatedly comparing it to Camelot.
“I learned all about pressure,” Pitino said. “Every single day there was unbelievable pressure to perform and it was very difficult and that pressure brought out the best in everybody. It forces you to rise early, stay up late, work as hard as you can possibly work.”
Joining Pitino in the 2013 were Seattle SuperSonics point guard Gary Payton, New York Knicks small forward Bernard King, Indiana Pacers guard Roger Brown and Knicks guard Richie Guerin.
Also inducted was Brazil legendary player Oscar Schmidt, the unofficial all-time leading scorer of basketball. Between club and national team play, he scored almost 50,000 points. Schmidt played 29 years for Brazilian, Italian and Spanish clubs.
The other inductees were Charlotte Sting guard Dawn Staley, UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, University of Houston coach Guy V. Lewis, University of North Carolina coach Sylvia Hatchell, NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik and Dr. E.B. Henderson.