The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame has announced its Class of 2018. Former San Antonio Spurs small forward Mike Mitchell, San Antonio Stars point guard and six-time WNBA All-Star Becky Hammon, San Antonio Sports founder and associate executive director of event operations Bill Hanson, and businessman Gordon Hartman, who created Soccer for a Cause, the spark that reignited professional soccer in San Antonio, will be recognized at the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute on Saturday, January 27, 2018 in the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center.
Mike Mitchell was the 15th pick of the Cleveland Cavaliers in the first round of the 1978 NBA Draft and was traded to the San Antonio Spurs in 1981. He played 10 seasons in the NBA, six and a half of those with the Spurs. Mitchell appeared in 488 regular season games with the Spurs, averaging 20.1 points, ranking fourth overall for highest points per game and sixth in total points (9,799) Spurs NBA history. He led the Spurs in scoring for the 1984-85 season. The 6-foot-7 215 pound forward teamed with George Gervin and later with All-Star center Artis Gilmore to help the franchise win back-to-back Midwest Division titles. Following his NBA career, after the 1987-88 season, Mitchell became a star in the Italian league before retiring from basketball in 1999. He died in June 2011 at the age of 55 after a two-year battle with cancer.
Becky Hammon played 16 seasons in the WNBA, eight with the San Antonio Stars. In 2016, she was named one of the WNBA’s Top 20@20, which recognized the 20 greatest and most influential players in the 20-year history of the WNBA. She was a six-time WNBA All-Starand one of only two players to be selected as an All-Star for both the East and West. She is eighth all-time in the WNBA in points (5,841), fourth all-time in assists (1,708) and the all-time leader in free-throw percentage (89.7). Hammon is the Star’s all-time leader in points per game (15.6), assists (1,133) and three-point goals made (498). She is a two-time Olympian, playing for the Russian National Team in 2008 and 2012. In college, Hammon played at Colorado State and was an All-American as well as Colorado Sportswoman of the Year. She was inducted into the New York Liberty Ring of Honor in 2015 and in 2016, the San Antonio Stars retired Hammon’s No. 25 jersey.
Bill Hanson, whose event management experience spanned 40 years on the local, national and international stage, was a founder of San Antonio Sports and a former executive director of the U.S. Modern Pentathlon Association. His experience also includes being sports manager of the Modern Pentathlon at the 1984 Olympic Games and assistant competition director at the 1996 Olympic Games. He directed sports operations for the 1989 AAU Jr. Olympic Games, was senior vice president of operations at the 1993 U.S. Olympic Festival, assisted in the organization of the Pan American Games, the Goodwill Games and numerous NCAA, NGB, Big 12 Conference and local youth competitions and events created by San Antonio Sports. He quite literally wrote the book on sports event management, the A to Z Guide to Organizing a Sports Event. Hanson was on staff at San Antonio Sports for 22 years and retired as the associate executive director of Event Operations in 2013.
In 2010, businessman Gordon Hartman established Soccer for a Cause, an important source of financial support for the special-needs community. That same year he also opened the 75-acre STAR Soccer Complex, one of the voter-approved Bexar County venues that required public/private partnerships. Soccer for a Cause ultimately led to the establishment of the NASL San Antonio Scorpions, and the construction of the 8,000-seat Toyota Field. All net profits benefited the special-needs community through Morgan’s Wonderland, the world’s only ultra-accessible theme park that he created with his wife, Maggie Hartman, to honor his daughter Morgan, who has physical and cognitive challenges. Toyota Field and STAR Soccer Complex are adjacent to the theme park.
The San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame is a partnership between San Antonio Sports, the City of San Antonio, and San Antonio Express-News. The black-tie San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame Tribute, where the Class of 2018 will be inducted, will be held on Saturday, January 27, in the Stars at Night Ballroom of the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center and feature a live performance from THE MIDTOWN MEN, four stars from the original cast of JERSEY BOYS.