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David Stern is in, Tim Hardaway among finalists for Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Feb 14, 2014, 5:33 PM EDT

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NEW ORLEANS – Was there really any doubt David Stern was headed to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame?

Just a couple of weeks after he retired following 30 years as NBA Commissioner, it was announced Stern was picked by the Hall of Fame’s Contributor Direct Election Committee — he is in, he doesn’t have to go up for another vote.

Nor should he — Stern oversaw a massive domestic and international growth of the NBA (and with that growth in the popularity of basketball overall). He understood that the NBA should be marketing its stars more than its teams — and when stars like Magic Johnson, Larry Bird and Michael Jordan (among others) fall in your lap the job is easy. Yes, there are dark spots on Stern’s record, his tenure was not all rainbows and puppy dogs, but he changed and grew the game in a massive way. His inclusion is a no brainer.

While Stern is in, 10 finalists were named and still have to go through one more round of voting (don’t ask by whom, transparency and the Hall of Fame do not mix). Those finalists are:

• Tim Hardaway, the guy with maybe the best crossover the game, who was a five-time All-Star and a member of the Warriors legendary Run TMC teams.
• Mitch Richmond, another member of Run TMC and a six-time All-Star.
• Spencer Haywood, a legendary NBA big man and four-time All-Star.
• Kevin Johnson, the three time All-Star who also has helped keep the NBA in Sacramento as mayor.
• Alonzo Mourning, who was a seven-time All-Star and continues to work with the Miami Heat and the league.
• Nolan Richardson, the former college coach of the year who had a legendary “40 minutes of hell” program at Arkansas.
• Eddie Sutton, four time college coach of the year.
• Gary Williams, who coached two teams to NCAA titles.

Who of that group gets to make the Hall of Fame will be announced in April during the NCAA Final Four.

Seven other men were directly elected (like Stern) and will be part of the class of 2015 for the Hall of Fame. They are:

• Sarunas Marciulionis, who had a seven-year NBA stint as well as an impressive international career, was voted in by the International Committee.
• Guy Rodgers, who was a four-time All-Star playing for the Philadelphia Warriors then went with the team as they moved cross country, was voted in by the veteran’s committee.
• Al Attles, who played 13 seasons and had his numbers retired by the Golden State Warriors, coached them, and has worked for the organization for 51 years. Attles has been selected to receive the 2014 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.
• Bob Leonard was voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) committee.
• Nat Clifton was elected by the Early African American Pioneers Committee.
• Famed Phoenix sportswriter Joe Gilmartin (who covered the Suns from their inception) and broadcaster John Andariese (who was the first color commentator on NBC when it carried the NBA and has worked doing commentary on the Knicks and others) are the 2014 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

The Class of 2014 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. in August.

  1. ranoversquarells - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:39 PM

    I love Hardaway, but he’s not HOF material.

    • spthegr8 - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      If he get’s in, they’ll have to open a special wing for Bigots for him!! Then again, the Mailman is in so they probably already opened it up when he was inducted!!

      • bucrightoff - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:46 PM

        Karl Malone can be as big a bigot as he wants (not that I condone bigotry), but he’s a HOFer based entirely off his play. Hardaway isn’t even close based off his play.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 15, 2014 at 2:39 AM

        “Hardaway isn’t even close based off his play.” – bucrightoff

        How is that so if there are less accomplished players than Hardaway already in the Hall?

    • antistratfordian - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:26 PM

      Well if Reggie Miller is in the hall then Tim Hardaway should probably be in there. Hardaway is actually the more accomplished player when it comes to All-NBA and All-Star selections.

      • davidly - Feb 15, 2014 at 8:06 AM

        I agree about Hardaway, but for a different reason, which I think accounts for why Miller was not an even more controversial entry: the fame part in the hall.

        People remember iconic moments. Both players have supplemented their numbers, all-star appearances, etc. by becoming icons of the game. You can hardly discuss Hardaway without getting into whether or not his crossover is definitive, which I think makes him worthy of serious consideration, having supplemented his numbers with that image.

        As to Miller, one could tout his hustling around the picks to get the shots he accumulated, but when you supplement it with those moments that New York fans will never forget, ie. so many points in so little time, being known as much of a Knick killer as MJ or Dolan, it wouldn’t be a HoF without him in it. Ditto Hardaway.

  2. jjpt4540 - Feb 14, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    There are a lot of good players on that list but none the deserve to be in the HOF.

    • spursareold - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:11 PM

      Exactly. It isn’t the Hall of the Very Very good.

      • cfutch - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:26 PM

        If Chris Mullin got in then Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond have to be in. In My Opinion TIm Hardaway and Mitch Richmond were better players than Mullin

  3. fissilemissile - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:36 PM

    They could induct the entire NBA for all I care, as long as Stern doesn’t get in. He should be the last person to get into the Hall.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 15, 2014 at 3:55 AM

      How does that even remotely make any sense?

      • ranfan12 - Feb 15, 2014 at 11:36 AM

        Exactly

  4. jimeejohnson - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:46 PM

    EvilEmpire: where the heck are you? Your buddy Stern’s goin’ to the HOF and you say nuthin’?

  5. topdawg4ever - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Hardaway and Richmond deserve to get in. They were outstanding players and had great careers.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:00 AM

      Loved Mitch Richmond. I don’t know anyone who didn’t like Golden State when Hardaway, Richmond and Mullins all averaged over 22 ppg. That was some firepower.

      • topdawg4ever - Feb 18, 2014 at 2:17 PM

        Yup. It was the highlight for me as a GSW fan!

  6. tcclark - Feb 14, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Hardaway Richmond Haywood and Johnson are all more deserving than reggie miller. I’ve been pushing for Johnson ever since miller got in. Johnson’s career averages are hall of fame worthy. he just didn’t have the longevity that guys like reggie miller had

    • asimonetti88 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:32 PM

      Johnson’s prime was way too short

  7. mjacobs45 - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:06 PM
  8. mjacobs45 - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:06 PM

    I love how you think the marketing of individual players over teams is a good thing. That’s one of the reasons the league is a lousy product.

    • antistratfordian - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:11 AM

      Riiiiight… because when they didn’t do that there was far more interest in their product.

      • mjacobs45 - Feb 17, 2014 at 11:12 AM

        Actually there was. Lakers- Celtics, Lakers-Pistons, Sixers-Celtics was way more engaging than watching LeBron vs. Dirk.

      • antistratfordian - Feb 17, 2014 at 3:09 PM

        How do you think the league was marketing itself back then? It was all about Magic Johnson and Larry Bird. It wasn’t about the Lakers and the Celtics.

  9. dolphindubs - Feb 14, 2014 at 7:11 PM

    I dont know if Kevin Johnson is a Hall-of-Famer, but man was he fun to watch. One of the most underrated players ever imo

  10. buffalo65 - Feb 14, 2014 at 8:37 PM

    Shut your mouth, Reggie was twice the player.

  11. coachjac30 - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:11 PM

    No HOF players here but I do think that the Coaches should get in

  12. miamatt - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:12 PM

    Morning definitely ought to get in.

    I’m pulling for Hardaway strictly as a Heat fan, but I’d be hard pressed to make that argument.

  13. Professor Fate - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:25 PM

    “No brainer” or not, I’ll never consider Stern to be among the elites that made basketball great. He made owners rich, often at the expense of players and fans, so I suppose he’d be a “no brainer” for a different HOF: The Hall of Funds.

  14. elnogo - Feb 14, 2014 at 9:55 PM

    If Reggie Miller and Chris Mullin made it. I don’t see why Zo won’t made it. Timmy, mitch and kev are borderline. If they make it then I know for a fact TMac will.

  15. DJ MC - Feb 14, 2014 at 10:04 PM

    I hate to correct this, as one of the world’s biggest Gary Williams fans, but he only won one championship.

    He absolutely belongs, though.

  16. naterich21 - Feb 14, 2014 at 11:56 PM

    I guess not many good players retired 5 years ago huh? Looks like the finalists are going to be lacking next year as well.

  17. tdl8 - Feb 15, 2014 at 1:44 AM

    Don’t you have to wait 5 years after retirement to get nominated? Thought that was one of the main rules!!

    • pacers24 - Feb 15, 2014 at 6:59 AM

      That’s what I thought when I heard Stern was nominated.

      He probably got that rule switched last year that says commissioners are eligible the first year they are retired.

      Also, please do not even try to compare Hardaway to REGGIE!! GTFOH —–>

  18. seanb20124 - Feb 15, 2014 at 7:58 AM

    Gary Williams has 2 national titles?? Since when?

  19. pacers24 - Feb 15, 2014 at 9:39 AM

    it’s a joke that spencer haywood is even on the list lol

    • genericcommenter - Feb 15, 2014 at 4:01 PM

      Huh? Career 20/10 averages, higher scoring average than some one-dimensional “scorers” already in there. Basketball Reference HOF probability of 51.6%, higher than a bunch of similar players already in there. Also has at least 1 of the best single seasons in pro basketball history.

  20. jbones77 - Feb 15, 2014 at 10:35 AM

    Run TMC was good and all, but “legendary”? Don’t know about all that.

  21. cantonbound13 - Feb 15, 2014 at 5:33 PM

    Is Stern the first member of the Heat to make the Hall?

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