The Bay Area has three former hoopsters who are finalists for selection to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2013 class.
San Leandro native Gary Payton along with former Warriors Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway are among the final 12 who will find out hours before the NCAA Men’s Championship game if they’ve been elected to the hall. A press conference will be held prior to the game on Monday, April 8.
Other players eligible for election are Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood, Bernard King, coaches Tom Heinsohn, Guy Lewis, Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian. The two women eligible for election are Dawn Staley and Sylvia Hatchell.
“We are proud to share an incredible group of finalists for the Class of 2013 – a distinct list of coaches and players who excelled at many levels of basketball,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board of Governors. “It will be a difficult decision for the Honors Committee to select the final class members from this prestigious group of individuals, each of whom has given so much to the game.”
Hardaway was a five-time NBA All-Star and an All-NBA First Team selection in 1997. He was a member of the 2000 Olympic Gold Medal-winning team. Hardaway played 13 NBA seasons scoring 15,373 points while averaging 20 points per game for four consecutive seasons.
Payton was a nine-time NBA All-Star and nine-time NBA All-Defensive First Team selection. He was an All-NBA First Team selection in both 1998 and 2000 and was named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1996. Payton ended his NBA career ranking fourth all-time in steals (2,445) and eighth in assists (8,966).
Richmond was a member of the Warriors’ “Run TMC.” Richmond was a six-time NBA All-Star, NBA Rookie of the Year in 1989, received three All-NBA Second Team selections and earned MVP honors at the 1995 NBA All-Star Game. He played 14 seasons in the league while scoring 20,497 points and averaging more than 21 ppg for 10 consecutive seasons.
Also announced today are five Direct Elects who are the initial members of the Class of 2013. They include Roger Brown, voted in from the American Basketball Association Committee, Edwin B. Henderson from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt from the International Committee, Richard Guerin from the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
Basketball Hall of Fame media services contributed to this report