by Ryne Nelson

The Hall of Fame Class of 2010 might not stand out as a particularly noteworthy group, but best believe: This group touched more lives than ever before. Chairman of the HOF committee, Jerry Colangelo, vowed there would be more transparency in the selection process, and several players who “slipped through the cracks” would be recognized this year.

It was about time.

Scottie Pippen, Cynthia Cooper, Karl Malone and the ’92 Olympic Dream Team were can’t miss first ballot inductees. But this decade’s first HOF class may very well be remembered as the Class of Hope. Dennis Johnson, Gus Johnson, the 1960 Olympic Team, and Bob Hurley Sr are all, finally, getting the call.

Larry Bird represented the Dream Team. The 1998 inductee said winning the ’92 gold medal was his proudest achievement. Bird also said Dennis Johnson was the best player he’s ever played with…

Johnson, was the starting point guard on the ’84 and ’86 Celtics and ’79 Seattle SuperSonics championship teams. He won Finals MVP with the Sonics and later earned six All-Defensive First Team honors. He died of a heart attack in February 2007.

The Hall posthumously inducted another Johnson — Gus. He played in five All-Star Games in the late ’60s and early ’70s and was named to four All-NBA Second Teams. Johnson won a title with the Pacers in 1973, before the franchise became part of the NBA. He died of inoperable brain cancer at age 48.

Walt Bellamy, a 1993 HOF inductee, accepted the honor for the 1960 Olympic team. Bellamy confidently stated that the team — which included fellow Hall members Jerry West, Oscar Robertson and Jerry Lucas — will all be in Springfield, MA for the August enshrinement.

Hurley will become only the third boys’ high school coach ever enshrined. His 38 years coaching in Jersey City, NJ have produced 984 victories, 24 State titles and nine Tournament of Champions crowns.