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David Stern, Alonzo Mourning, Mitch Richmond head 2014 Naismith Hall of Fame class

Apr 7, 2014, 1:40 PM EDT

Houston Rockets v Miami Heat Getty Images

What had been rumored for nearly a week became official on Monday:

Alonzo Mourning and Mitch Richmond have been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The Hall’s selection committee made the formal announcement on Monday. They will join former NBA Commissioner David Stern, who had already been announced as directly elected to the Hall for his contributions to the game.

Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood and Kevin Johnson did not make the cut. Ugh.

Mourning was a seven-time All-Star and an NBA champion (2006 Heat) who held his own at both ends of the floor against some legendary centers of his era — Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal. He was particularly known for his defense, twice being named NBA Defensive Player of the Year, also twice he finished in the top three in MVP voting. Mourning played 15 NBA seasons (11 in Miami) averaging 17 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.6 blocks per game. Also remember he was an All-American at Georgetown.

Richmond was a shooter ahead of his time — in an era when the three ball was not as prevalent he was a sniper from deep. He also could put it on the floor and get to the rim, which is why he averaged 21 points a game or more for 10 consecutive seasons. He was part of the Warriors’ “Run TMC” years with Chris Mullin (already in the Hall of Fame) and Hardaway (who should be). Richmond went on to be a six-time NBA All-Star, won an NBA title (2002 Lakers) and an Olympic Gold Medal (1996).

Both of those guys are deserving. So is Hardaway, but that just leads to another discussion of why there needs to be a separate NBA Hall of Fame.

David Stern should be in any Hall — while he was a lightning rod of controversy he also left an indelible imprint on the NBA in his 30 years as commissioner. Stern understood marketing and was able to help sell the brands of Magic Johnson, Larry Bird, Michael Jordan and others to raise the NBA’s status (and profits for team owners) to new heights. Putting him in the Hall was a given.

Others elected or directly voted in are:

Nolan Richardson. The famed “40 minutes of hell” coach of Arkansas who led that team to three Final Four trips and the 1994 NCAA title.

Gary Williams. He coached Maryland for 21 seasons, leading them to 11 NCAA Tournaments and the 2002 national championship.

Bob Leonard. “Slick” was the winningest coach in the history of the ABA, leading the Pacers to three ABA titles.

Nat Clifton. One of the first African Americans to sign in the NBA, he averaged 10 points a game over an eight year NBA career.

Sarunas Marciulionis. The Lithuanian was the first player from the Soviet Union to play in the NBA (back then Lithuania was still part of the Soviet Union). In his seven NBA seasons, Marciulionis averaged 12.8 points and 1.3 steals per game. He also had big numbers in Europe and the European Championships.

Guy Rogers. He was a four time NBA All-Star in the 1960s, and he also lifted Temple to the NCAA Final Four in the 1950s.

  1. beach305 - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:00 PM

    What amazes me about zo is that for a small guy, he played in an area with some of the best centers in the game. I would to like to have seen him in todays game.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:22 PM

      I’ll go out on a limb and say that Dwight Howard is the poor man’s Alonzo Mourning. The only catch is Zo actually played with (against) true centers.

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:22 PM

      If you think 6’10” is small, you might be the Giant in Jack in the Bean Stalk.

      • 00maltliquor - Apr 8, 2014 at 3:07 AM

        I think he was talking about for-a-center small. He’d be right, 6”10 is small for a true NBA C.

  2. purdueman08 - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:01 PM

    True Stern did much to elevate the game. At the same time, he has helped to sisify it as well. Just barely touch somebody and bam! Foul! Should have kept the rules 80’s/90’s style. But congrats to Zo on making it. Great career. Went through a lot just to come back and show he could still do it.

    • asimonetti88 - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:13 PM

      “Should have kept the rules 80′s/90′s style.”

      Stern was also the commissioner during that era.

  3. borisalessandri - Apr 7, 2014 at 2:53 PM

    The only thing Tim Hardaway brought to the game was the “Killer Crossover”. He single-handedly ushered in a new era of ball handling with his “UTEP 2 Step”, but it’s called the NBA Hall of Fame not the NBA Hall of Multiple Time All Stars. T-Bug was a solid player in his own right, but a HOFer is a huge stretch.

    • convincedofthehex - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:24 PM

      Actually, it’s the Basketball Hall of Fame, not the NBA Hall of Fame.

      • borisalessandri - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:39 PM

        thanks for correcting me, it was a Freudian slip of the mind. I really need to proof read my post before I post

      • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:23 PM

        Proofread police are satisfied with your contrition.

  4. seanb20124 - Apr 7, 2014 at 3:27 PM

    Never thought Richmond as a HOFer. Plus he won world championship as a bench player. Was hardly a contributor on that team.

    • sportsfan18 - Apr 7, 2014 at 5:32 PM

      I agree. Richmond is not a HOF player.

      Like many say with respect to the baseball HOF, he should be in the hall of the very good…

      Look up his stats, they say very good career, but not HOF.

      • turkbox420 - Apr 7, 2014 at 10:47 PM

        20k points is a H.O.F.`er.

  5. tomtravis76 - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:14 PM

    Run T-M-C , that was a fun squad to watch.

  6. reesesteel23 - Apr 7, 2014 at 4:35 PM

    Zo didn’t give a sh**…He didn’t care if it was Blake Griffin gliding from the free throw line, he was going to try to block the damn shot!…….that’s why I liked him.

    On that same note…..I remember him getting completely obliterated on occasions!

    • jimeejohnson - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:25 PM

      Larry Johnson almost planted him like a tulip, but some little guy named Van Gundy was grabbing at his leg as if it were a drumstick. I miss those days like I miss the pea brain CantonPeaBrain’s posts.

      • cantonbound13 - Apr 8, 2014 at 8:25 PM

        You miss those days? The Knicks beat your a$$ every year back then. Did you forget, pea brain?

  7. Popadopolis - Apr 7, 2014 at 6:43 PM

    Stern out the job a month and already on a HoF ballet? Are you kidding me? Players got to wait, what? 5 Years? Stern commercialized the game, but ruined it by not cleaning up officiating. I am by far NOT a Stern fan at all. That is why this era of players can NEVER be compared to the players of old. Different game.

    Officiating needs a complete overhaul which Stern had no stomach or balls for. Officiating by status is nuts, if its a foul its a foul regardless of who is driving, or has the ball or who is defending. Taking star status out the picture has got to be a priority for officiating in order to make this game become anywhere near the NFL for ratings.

    Oh, one more thing, over 50% of the league making the playoffs? Come on man… Thanks Stern. Making the NBA playoff just as long as Hockey playoff… Return the days of a 5 game series for the first round and shorten this thing up.

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