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Las Vegas resident Payton learns he has made Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

Las Vegas resident Gary Payton, a defensive stalwart during his 17-year NBA career, learned Thursday he made it into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

Payton, 44, received at least 18 votes among the 24 voters on the Hall’s Honors Committee. The induction ceremony will be Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass.

It was unknown whether UNLV coaching legend Jerry Tarkanian and former NBA and American Basketball Association star Spencer Haywood, both also Las Vegas residents, received enough votes for induction.

Tarkanian, Haywood and Payton were among 12 finalists for this year’s class. The official announcement will be made Monday at the Final Four in Atlanta.

NBA.com initially reported the news Thursday morning via Twitter, and it was later confirmed by Fox Sports Florida that Payton had received the news from the Hall of Fame.

Payton, a 6-foot-4-inch point guard from Oakland, Calif., had an All-America career at Oregon State. He spent the first 12½ years of his NBA career with the Seattle SuperSonics. The nine-time All-Star had career averages of 16.3 points and 6.7 assists, and he ranks fourth in career steals with 2,445.

Former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis, 91, also learned he would be inducted. His wife, Dena, said he will not attend the announcement in Atlanta.

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