On Friday, select members of the 2016 Tennessee Athletics Hall of Fame induction class gathered at Ray and Lucy Hand Digital Studio for media availability. Among the present Tennessee legends were basketball standouts Dale Ellis and Lady Vol Kara Lawson.
Lawson earned first-team All-SEC honors three times in her four seasons at UT. After being drafted No. 5 overall in 2003 by the Detroit Shock, she was immediately traded to the Sacramento Monarchs. A champion in 2005 and All-Star in 2007, she continues to play in the WNBA and is a noteworthy reporter for ESPN.
What was your initial reaction to being inducted into the Hall of Fame?
“I was really excited about it. To be able to distinguish yourself a little bit more as a player is a real neat accomplishment for me, my family, and friends. It’s always good to come back and see everybody, it’s like a little reunion for me. I got the chance to visit Coach Summit earlier today. It’s an even extra honor to be inducted with this class. It has some pretty high character guys associated with it.”
What are some your best memories while at UT?
“My best memories were just the relationships that I made here, that I still have with my teammates, coaches, and friends. When you get honored like this it makes you be reflective and be thankful for the relationships you had and the people who helped you get here.”
How do you use your influence on the current Tennessee players?
“When I come to watch a practice or workout they know that they have access to any of us who have played if they want it or need it. Some are interested in after UT, so that’s always good when they are looking forward to what they want to do when they are done playing ball here.”
What has your experience at ESPN been like?
“It’s been great. I just finished my 13 NCAA tournament with them. The final four is always great. I get to do SEC with the men on Saturdays which is really cool. Doing a little NBA, it’s the best players in the world it’s awesome. Just staying around basketball I think that I’ll always stay around the game I have such a passion for it. I’m lucky that my job is my hobby and my hobby is my job.”
Also being inducted into the Hall of Fame is former men’s basketball star Dale Ellis. Ellis was a two-time SEC player of the year and a first-team All-American. Drafted by the Dallas Mavericks No. 9 overall in 1983, his accomplishments over his 17-year career includ an All-Star selection, NBA Most Improved Player award in 1987 and an NBA three-point shootout championship in 1989.
Ellis discussed his love for the years he spent at Tennessee, as well as memories of clutch shots that gave him the belief that he could play in the NBA.
Edited by David Bradford
Featured image courtesy of Joel Kramer