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For week ended August 22, 1999 Posted 4 Sep 1999

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Ainge welcomed back

Summarized by Nicholas Maddox

Ainge welcomed back
Spokane WA Spokesman-Review 22Aug99 L3
Ainge welcomed back

PORTLAND, OREGON -- Danny Ainge has been honored by his home state of Oregon by being inducted into the Oregon Sports Hall of Fame during the Halls 20th annual induction ceremony. Ainge played his high school days at North Eugene High as a three-sport star in basketball, baseball and football. He led the Highlanders to back-to-back Class 3A basketball championships in 1976 and 1977 and was state player of the year both years.

For college Danny Ainge selected Brigham Young University in Provo, Utah. His local fans were not happy that he didn't choose an Oregon school. At BYU Ainge became a star for the Cougars and earned All-American honors in 1981. He was also honored with the Wooden Award as college basketball's best player. Ainge's hometown fans might not have been happy with him going to the Y but he says "I certainly have no regrets, and feel like it was the best situation for me. I found my future wife there."

Ainge was drafted by the Boston Celtics and was on the Championship teams of 1984 and 1986 along with Larry Bird, Kevin McHale and Robert Parish. He played for over seven seasons with the Celtics before being traded to Sacramento in 1989 and then on to his home state at Portland in 1990 where in 1992 they lost to the Chicago Bulls in the finals. Ainge finished his playing career in 1995 at Phoenix after 14 professional basketball seasons. He has coached the Suns since 1996.

In reference to his returns to Oregon he says, "It's always been my favorite place. I guess I'm one of those few people who love the rain. I do feel welcome when I'm in Portland, probably because we keep losing there." Last season the Suns were swept out of the playoffs by the Trailblazers.

As a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints Danny Ainge did not serve a mission but has counselled and offered advice to many young athletes when they were faced with choices between continuing athletics or breaking to serve.

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