Local Inductees Highlight Class of NYC Basketball Hall of Fame

The 25th annual N.Y.C. Basketball Hall of Fame class was inducted Sept. 16 at the New York Athletic Club.

This year’s class of players included Mike Riordan, Craig “Speedy” Claxton, Felipe Lopez and Charlie Davis. The 1993 Christ the King R.H.S., Middle Village, women’s basketball team also received the honor.

Mike Riordan (Photo by Jim Mancari)
Mike Riordan (Photo by Jim Mancari)

Mike Riordan began his playing career in the CHSAA at Holy Cross H.S., Flushing. The shooting guard would later play for Providence College from 1964 to 1967, where he was a part of two NCAA tournament teams.

He was drafted in the 12th round as the 128th pick by the New York Knicks in 1967. Riordan played by the Allentown Jets of the CBA before returning to the Knicks from 1968 to 1971. He won an NBA championship as a member of the 1970 Knicks and finished his career with six seasons with the Baltimore/Washington Bullets.

Speedy Claxton attended Christ the King and helped lead his team in 1996 in one of the city’s most memorable CHSAA final games. He would later attend Hofstra University, Hempstead, L.I.. from 1996 to 2000.

After college, Claxton was drafted in the first round as the 20th pick by the Philadelphia 76ers. He went on to play for the San Antonio Spurs, Golden State Warriors, New Orleans Hornets and Atlanta Hawks. He was a member of the 2003 Spurs team that won the NBA Finals.

Felipe Lopez, a native home of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, attended Rice H.S., Manhattan. The high school phenom would grace the cover of Sports Illustrated before ever entering college. Lopez guided Rice to the 1994 N.Y.S. championship. He would also earn the McDonald’s All-American M.V.P. title that same year.

He continued his career at home at St. John’s University, Jamaica, where he earned the Haggerty Award in 1998. Lopez was drafted in the first round as the 24th pick by the San Antonio Spurs. He would get immediately traded to the Vancouver Grizzlies then later play for the Washington Wizards and the Minnesota Timberwolves.

Charlie Davis attended Brooklyn Tech H.S. at the start of his playing career. The guard became the second African-American to play at Wake Forest University and in 1971 the first African-American to receive the A.C.C. Player of the Year Award.

In 1971, he was drafted in the eighth round as the 120th pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers and would then play for the Portland Trail Blazers.

Members of the 1993 Christ the King women's varsity basketball team (Photo by Bob Mackey)
Members of the 1993 Christ the King women’s varsity basketball team (Photo by Bob Mackey)

The 1993 Christ the King women’s basketball team became the first female team to be inducted into the N.Y.C. Basketball Hall of Fame. That season, Christ the King won the Brooklyn/Queens GCHSAA title, the N.Y.S. GCHSAA title and the State Federation title.

The team was ranked the No. 1 women’s varsity high school team that season by USA Today. The team’s head coach, Vincent Cannizzaro, accepted on the team’s behalf.

The late Columbia University coach Jack Rohan also received a Hall of Fame induction as well as Hugh Evans, one of the great NBA officials of his time.