Basketball Hall of Fame taps Stern; names Haywood finalist

NEW ORLEANS — David Stern is going from the NBA commissioner’s office to the Hall of Fame.

The recently retired Stern was elected Friday to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be enshrined with the class of 2014 on Aug. 8 in Springfield, Mass.

Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Kevin Johnson and Spencer Haywood of Las Vegas are hoping to be part of the class. They were chosen as finalists, with the full class to be unveiled April 7 during the NCAA men’s Final Four.

“I was being interviewed by NBA TV when I got the word,” Haywood said. “I’m thrilled to be a finalist, and I believe this time is the right time. It’s a different feeling this year.”

Haywood certainly compiled a Hall of Fame-worthy resume during 14 NBA seasons — he averaged 20.3 points and 10.3 rebounds, was a two-time All-NBA first-team selection and a four-time NBA All-Star and won an NBA title in 1980. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1968. But he ruffled feathers when he filed a lawsuit challenging NBA rules prohibiting underclassmen from entering the draft in 1970. His antitrust suit cleared the way for many of today’s NBA millionaires.

Stern retired Feb. 1 after 30 years as commissioner, during which he brought the league to its greatest success. Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Hall of Fame board, said the Hall hopes to have a special spot to display a tribute to Stern.

“He deserves to be recognized in a huge way,” Colangelo said.

Stern was elected by the contributors committee. Also directly elected to the Hall of Fame were Lithuania star Sarunas Marciulionis by the international committee, former Indiana Pacers coach Bob “Slick” Leonard by the American Basketball Association committee, former New York Knicks player Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton by the early African-American pioneers committee, and former Temple star Guy Rodgers by the veterans committee.

College coaches Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams were also finalists, as were former women’s coach Harley Redin and the women’s team from Immaculata College, which won three straight national championships.

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