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Renowned sports writer J.A. Adande — a Record board member — is headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame

It was Magic.

Captivating NBA icon Magic Johnson drew J.A. Adande into a love affair with the game of basketball, leading him down a path and to a destination where Adande and Magic converge again: the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Adande, a board member with The Record North Shore, is the print media recipient of the Chuck Gowdy Award, a program that recognizes media members “whose efforts made a significant contribution to the game of basketball.”

Adande, now the sports journalism director at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, spent time with the Chicago Sun-Times and The Washington Post before becoming a nationally renowned byline during his 10 years with the L.A. Times. In 2007, Adande became an ESPN NBA sideline reporter and regular on the network’s hit show “Around the Horn.”

He joined Northwestern in 2017 and was one of The Record’s original board members when the local newsroom launched in 2020.

A couple of years ago, Adande was informed he was a finalist for the Gowdy Award and said “to know it was in the realm of possibility was exciting for me.”

This year, he received an email asking for his phone number, and from experience seeing sports figures receive big-moment phone calls, such as hall-of-fame announcements, he “knew it was a distinct possibility” this time around.

Adande got word of his selection just before NBA All-Star Weekend, which he attended. He said he enjoyed letting former superstars he covered, like Gary Payton and Reggie Miller, know he was joining them in the Hall of Fame.

“It doesn’t feel like I’m the equivalent of them, but technically I am. The same description applies,” he said. “I’m having a lot of fun with it.”

More genuinely, Adande said he is honored to join some of his journalism heroes in the hall, guys like Mike Wilbon (inducted in 2020), Bob Ryan (1997), Bob Costas (1999) and Chick Hearn (1992).

Adande and the other 2024 Gowdy winners — Debbie Antonelli (electronic), “NBA Inside Stuff” (transformative media) and Dennis Page/SLAM magazine (transformative media) — will be celebrated during the Hall of Fame’s Enshrinement Weekend on Aug. 16-17 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Since hearing of his selection, Adande has been reviewing his old work and jotting down notes for his enshrinement speech. He said he’s saving his best material for that moment, but he is still waiting for the honor to sink in.

“Maybe it will settle down by (the ceremony). I don’t think it will but there are six months until the enshrinement,” he said. “I woke up this morning early and thought I wake up today as a hall of famer. Staring out at the lake and sky, I thought there are so many people who did things that are so well-deserved. OK, did I? I guess so.”

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joe coughlin
Joe Coughlin

Joe Coughlin is a co-founder and the editor in chief of The Record. He leads investigative reporting and reports on anything else needed. Joe has been recognized for his investigative reporting and sports reporting, feature writing and photojournalism. Follow Joe on Twitter @joec2319

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