At a Friday morning event as part of All-Star Weekend in Houston, finalists were named for selection to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The electees will be announced during the weekend of the NCAA Final Four.
Sonics point guard Gary Payton headlines the finalist class. "The Glove" is widely considered one of the best defensive players in NBA history and led his team to The Finals in 1996, losing to Michael Jordan's Bulls.
Former Knicks star Bernard King joins Payton among the notable players. King played 14 seasons in the NBA and is known as one of the best scoring forwards in league history. His absence in the Hall of Fame has been controversial, and he finally seems headed for election.
Other notable players and figures to make the finalist list include Warriors and Heat star Tim Hardaway, Kings forward Mitch Richmond, five-time NBA-ABA all-star Spencer Haywood, 76ers championship forward Maurice "Mo" Cheeks, four-time UNLV Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian, six-time Final Four coach Rick Pitino (not likely to have his time with the Celtics mentioned), two-time NBA championship Celtics coach Tommy Heinsohn and five-time Final Four coach Guy Lewis of the University of Houston.
The ABA committee selected Roger Brown of the Indiana Pacers for direct election. Former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik was direct-elected in the contributor category.