SAN ANTONIO - Bryan Colangelo was 8 years old when he and his father, Jerry, toured the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the first time together.
"Where’s your statue?" Bryan said. "Why aren’t you in there?"
He doesn’t have to ask that question any longer.
Jerry Colangelo, the Suns’ chairman and CEO, was elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday along with former players Clyde Drexler, Lynette Woodard, Maurice Stokes and Drazen Dalipagic, who played in Yugoslavia, and coach Bill Sharman.
"This is a moment that is hard to put into words," said Colangelo as he held up a Hall of Fame jersey bearing his name. "This is the pinnacle and it’s humbling."
Colangelo, who learned of his induction last Thursday, had been a finalist the previous two years. He became emotional when his name was announced and he walked to the stage to accept his jersey.
"You always think you’re ready for these things, but it gets to you," he said.
NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik, chairman of the board of the Hall of Fame, said Colangelo deserved induction for his "incredible" contributions to basketball.
Colangelo, who became the youngest general manager (28) in professional sports in 1968, has been named NBA executive of the year four times and chaired several league committees. He was instrumental in the advent of the WNBA.
"You’re not going to get a lot of owners like Jerry who come up through the ranks and dedicate their lives to the sport," Granik said.
Colangelo said that dedication began early in his life.
"The first time I picked up a basketball I loved the smell of it," he said. "It became a love affair. Basketball has led to everything else in my life."
Bryan Colangelo, the Suns general manager, watched Monday’s ceremony and said he was thrilled for his father.
"I could absolutely sense he was just overwhelmed," Bryan said.
The induction ceremonies will be held Sept. 10 in Springfield, Mass., site of the Hall of Fame. Jerry Colangelo said he has yet to decide who will present him.