"It's more than one can ever expect, especially the outpouring of support and congratulations," said Staley, whose Twitter account has been overwhelmed with more than 500 messages and was still being flooded through a 24-hour period into Saturday.
"It's sinking in," Staley said. "But this is the easy part. The hard part is getting up there and speaking to the entire basketball world and on live television."
The 43-year-old Staley recently said in an interview with WNBA.com, the pro league's website, that Hall of Famer and former Temple coach John Chaney told her to go ahead and thank everybody, "but when you get to the 35th minute you should think about wrapping it up."
Though Staley's coaching success was referenced during Saturday's press session at the Hall, she is being honored for her fiery play with a flashy style honed on the playground blacktops of the Raymond Rosen housing project.
Staley's eternal love affair with basketball saw her become the nation's top high school recruit out of Dobbins Tech in the formative days of her career.
She earned all-American and national player of the year accolades at the University of Virginia before continuing on to all-star stature in the WNBA and the former American Basketball League, and, most important, becoming internationally renowned with three Olympic gold medals.
"Back at Virginia, we made basketball popular," Staley said. "People came to watch us play because they liked the product on the floor. But at the same time it made our experience memorable."
Staley will be escorted by former Georgia stars and Olympic teammates Katrina McClain (Hall of Fame Class of 2012) and Teresa Edwards (2011).
Her Olympic playing phase culminated in Staley's leading the American delegation carrying the flag at the opening ceremony of the 2004 Summer Games in Athens.
But that ultimate thrill was surpassed last April, when Staley officially became bound for the Naismith Hall as did women's committee nominee Sylvia Hatchell, the North Carolina coach who earned her 900th career victory last season.
"I can cross this off near the top of my bucket list tomorrow afternoon," Hatchell quipped during formal remarks from the podium while Staley boasted she was looking forward to representing the City of Philadelphia.
While Staley had said becoming a Hall of Famer is one thing she aspired to "because you get in on the evaluation of your career by other people," on Saturday she said she had never given it much thought.
"I'm at a tender age when it's come to me when I'm very young, but I'll be able to celebrate it for a very long time," she said.
Staley's work with youth, beginning with establishing the Dawn Staley Foundation after the 1996 Olympics, has earned such praise to the point that the WNBA's Community Service Award is named after her.
This summer she established her Innersole foundation, giving new sneakers to underprivileged youth. And last month she traveled with former President Bill Clinton and his daughter, Chelsea, to Africa to view the foundation work established by the former first family.
Former La Salle star Cheryl Reeve, coach of the WNBA's top team, the Minnesota Lynx, recently paid tribute to Staley, who is a contemporary.
"I saw Dawn up close and personal at Charlotte," Reeve said of the former WNBA team of Staley's that Reeve served as an assistant coach. "I always had seen her from afar in Philly.
"To have a chance to be with Dawn on a daily basis, you have a great appreciation for what a competitor Dawn was as a player and is now as a coach," Reeve said. "What I appreciate most is her passion for the game. Tremendous, tremendous leader and an obvious great mind for the game.
"I still think to this day she is one of the top two, if not the top, point guards who played in this league. She could play until she was 50 because she was so darn smart and competitive. I know her knees weren't going to cooperate with her, but I enjoyed the heck out of my experience with Dawn and have enjoyed her coaching.
"Her fire and passion are very contagious. She has high demands for her players. She's one of my all-time favorites that I had a chance to coach."
The enshrinement ceremony concludes a three-day event that began Friday night with the ring presentations an hour from here at the Mohegan Sun casino-entertainment complex.
It continued Saturday night at the Reunion/Awards Dinner at the Hall, where George Raveling, who once was a Villanova men's assistant coach, received the John W. Bunn lifetime achievement award, while St. Joseph's graduate Boo Williams, a notable youth basketball ambassador, was one of three recipients of the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award, joined by Hall of Famers Magic Johnson and former Tennessee coach Pat Summitt.
In addition to Staley and Hatchell, the Hall will induct: former ABA player Roger Brown; E.B. Henderson, the "Grandfather of Black Basketball"; Brazilian star Oscar Schmidt; NBA greats Richie Guerin, Gary Payton, and Bernard King; NBA executive Russ Granik; and coaches Guy V. Lewis, Rick Pitino, and Jerry Tarkanian.
Staley's Hall of Fame Career
Highlights of Dawn Staley the player
High School (Dobbins Tech, 1986-88)
Won three city titles, going undefeated (60-0)
Named USA Today national high school player of the year (1988)
College (Virginia, 1988-92)
Two-time national player of the year (1991-92)
Held five career marks and 10 season marks
Only Cavalier to have a triple-double (twice)
Atlantic Coast Conference career assist record (729)
Final totals: 2,135 points, 729 assists, and 454 steals
Led Cavaliers to 3 straight NCAA Final Fours (1990-92).
NCAA Final Four most outstanding player (1991)
Three-time all-American (1990-92)
Broderick Honda Cup Award (1991) as female collegiate athlete of the year.
Five-time WNBA all-star
Three-time ABL all-star
WNBA all-decade team (2007)
WNBA all-time top 15 (2011)
Three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, '04)
USA female basketball player of year (1994, 2004)
U.S. flag bearer, 2004 Olympics opening ceremony
Women's Basketball Hall of Fame (Class of 2012)
Two-time Wanamaker Award Winner in Philadelphia
- Mel Greenberg