In 2011, 11 honorees were selected by Holiday Invitational tournament officials as the inaugural class of the Legends of the Holiday Tournament. Only players that participated in the Holiday Invitational more than 20 years ago were eligible for the honor.
Ford led the Gryphons to the championship in the first Holiday Invitational in 1972 after a victory over Kinston. He was named all-tournament in 1972 (Most Valuable Players/Most Outstanding Players weren't named until 1986). Ford landed on the all-tournament team again in 1973 when Rocky Mount finished second to Kinston in the Invitational championship. He went on to a storied career at UNC; he is recognized as one of the – if not the – best point guards in Atlantic Coast Conference history. Ford was a consensus All-American after his sophomore, junior and senior seasons in Chapel Hill and won the Wooden Award as the top college player in 1978. Ford was named the NBA Rookie of the Year in 1979 with the Kansas City Kings; he went on to play six years in the NBA.
Maxwell led the Vikings to the championship game of the inaugural Holiday Invitational in 1972, where Kinston lost to Rocky Mount. He played college basketball at UNC-Charlotte, leading the 49ers to the NIT championship in 1976 and to the school's only NCAA Final Four appearance in 1977. Drafted by Boston, he led the Celtics to the 1981 and 1984 NBA championships, earning NBA Finals MVP honors in 1981. He played 11 seasons for the Celtics, Los Angeles Clippers and Houston Rockets in the NBA, scoring 10,465 points and grabbing 5,261 rebounds.
McMillan led the Eagles to a third-place finish in the 1981 Holiday Invitational and was named all-tournament for his efforts. After a successful two year career at Chowan College, he transferred to N.C. State, where he played for legendary coach Jim Valvano. At State, McMillan and the Wolfpack won one Atlantic Coast Conference championship and advanced to the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament in his junior and senior campaigns. He was drafted by the NBA's Seattle Supersonics and spent his entire 12-year playing career with the franchise. After coaching the Supersonics for several years, McMillan is currently coaching the Portland Trail Blazers; he's also been an assistant to Mike Krzyzewski for the United States squad and helped lead the Americans to the gold medal in the 2008 Summer Olympics.
Monroe set the Holiday Invitational scoring record in 1986 by finishing with 103 points in three games for the Gaels – a record that stood for four years. He still holds the record for most field goals (42) in a tournament. He was named the tournament's first Most Outstanding Player after leading the Gaels to a third-place finish. Monroe played collegiately at N.C. State and was named the Atlantic Coast Conference player of the year in 1991. He is still the fourth all-time leading scorer in ACC history (2,551 points). After one year in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks, Monroe continued his professional basketball career in Australia, Israel, Spain and Cyprus.
In his school's first appearance in the Holiday Invitational in 1989, Rogers led the Hornets to their only championship (in eight tournaments). For his efforts, he was named Most Outstanding Player of the 1989 Holiday Invitational and also earned the Dunkmaster award. At Wake Forest, Rogers was named the Atlantic Coast Conference Rookie of the Year in 1991 and the league's Player of the Year in 1993 when he averaged 21.2 points and 7.4 rebounds per game for the Demon Deacons. He was also a consensus All-American in 1993. He played 12 seasons in the NBA for seven teams and was named the Sixth Man of the Year while with the Phoenix Suns in 2000.
As a junior, Stackhouse was named the Holiday Invitational's Most Outstanding Player in 1991 after leading the Vikings to a third-place finish while averaging 24.3 points and 14 rebounds a game. He was also named the tournament's Dunkmaster that year. He was a two-time Parade Magazine All-American as a prep player and named the McDonald's All-American Game MVP in 1993. Stackhouse played two seasons at UNC and was named a consensus All-American following his sophomore season. He was drafted third overall by the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1995 NBA Draft and has scored more than 15,000 points in his career. A two-time NBA All-Star, Stackhouse has been on seven NBA rosters and started this season with the Atlanta Hawks.
Stevens is the iconic high school sports editor of the News & Observer of Raleigh, whose career has spanned more than four decades. He helped form the Holiday Invitational in 1972. Stevens was introduced into the North Carolina High School Athletic Association's Hall of Fame in 2008 and has an NCHSAA award named after hin that is annually given to the state's top prep sports reporter. he is the only active newspaper reporter in the National High School Sports Hall of Fame.
A star on the Capitals' team that advanced to the championship game of the 1975 Holiday Invitational, Williams is considered one of the best players to emerge from the Triangle. After leading Broughton to the title game loss against Enloe, Williams was named to the East-West All-Star Game, where he earned MVP honors following the East's 84-76 victory. Williams played at Brevard Junior College for a year before transferring to Clemson, where he eventually became an all-ACC performer, resulting in being drafted by the Houston Rockets in 1980. He never played in the NBA, though, choosing to play in Europe.
Williams led the Gryphons to their second Holiday Invitational title in 1977 by averaging 20 points and 16.3 rebounds per game. He was named to the all-tournament team that year – the Holiday Invitational didn't name Most Valuable Players or Most Outstanding Players until 1986. At the University of Maryland, he was named Rookie of the Year in 1979 and was named All-ACC in 1980 and 1981. He was selected to play for the U.S. Olympic basketball team in 1980, but the American boycott kept him from doing so. After earning NBA Rookie of the Year honors in 1982, Williams played 17 years in the league and earned All-Star honors three times. He retired in 1999 and is still No. 13 overall in league history in rebounds (13,017).
The most prolific scorer in Holiday Invitational history, Williams' 115 points in the 1990 tournament still stands as the best – by 12 points – a full 21 years later. He earned tournament MOP honors by scoring 39 points in a loss to eventual 1990 Holiday Invitational champion Springfield (Mass.) Central in the quarterfinals, 40 in a loss to Stone County, Miss., in the consolation semifinals and 36 in a seventh-place game victory against Elizabeth City Northeastern. At UNC, he was named the MVP of the 1993 national championship victory after scoring 25 points against Michigan. He played professional basketball in 10 different countries.
Young scored 30 points in the best game in Holiday Invitational history, the 104-102 seven-overtime championship win for his Eagles in 1978. He was named to the all-tournament team that year and again in 1979, when Enloe finished as runners-up to South Mecklenburg. He played basketball at Wake Forest and was selected by the Seattle Supersonics in the 1984 NBA Draft. Young played for five NBA teams in his professional basketball career.