The Fighting Illini will be represented in Springfield, Massachusetts later this year during an enshrinement ceremony at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. Former Illinois star Mannie Jackson and former head coach Bill Self will be a part of the new 11-member class that was announced on Saturday.
Statement from Josh Whitman
Congratulations to one of our most distinguished alumni, Mannie Jackson, on his selection for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He is a pioneer whose determination and vision have been felt not only by generations of Illini fans, but also by basketball fans the world over. We are grateful to Mannie for his contributions to the game and, more locally, for his ongoing commitment to the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini Athletics.
Jackson, along with Govoner Vaughn, became the first African-Americans to start at Illinois in 1957. The Edwardsville native averaged double figures in scoring during all three of his seasons, and he received All-Big Ten honors twice. He finished his college career with 922 points, ranking fifth on Illinois’ all-time scoring list at the time.
Jackson became a very successful businessman following the conclusion of a brief three-year professional career with the Harlem Globetrotters. In 1993, Jackson purchased the Globetrotters and saved the famous franchise by guiding them to record attendance and revenue growth.
Bill Self’s time in Champaign lasted just three seasons, but despite that short timeframe, a case can be made that he’s best coach in program history. He led Illinois to an overall record of 78-24 (35-13), back-to-back Big Ten championships, and three NCAA Tournament appearances. Self has since gone on to become one of the most-winningest coaches in Kansas history, winning at least a share of the last 13 Big 12 titles.
Others in the latest Hall of Fame class include Tracy McGrady, Jerry Krause, Rebecca Lobo, Muffett McGraw, Robert Hughes, Tom Jernstedt, Zach Clayton, Nikos Galis, and George McGinnis.