2/24/2012 12:06:07 PM
Miller, a five-time NBA All-Star, and Pitino, a five-time NCAA Final Four
coach, join two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch and two-time Olympic
gold medalist Katrina McClain as first-time finalists.
Other finalists from the player category were Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson,
Bernard King and Jamaal Wilkes. Coaches selected as finalists were Dick Motta
and Don Nelson, while contributors chosen as finalists were referee Hank
Nichols and the All American Red Heads, a women's team akin to the Harlem
"The finalists for the Class of 2012 are a decorated group consisting of some
of the greatest leaders that we have ever seen in the game of basketball,"
said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of
Fame Board of Governors. "They represent all facets of the game from
professional, collegiate, amateur and international levels for the sport."
The 2012 Hall of Fame class will be announced Monday, April 2 at a news
conference prior to the NCAA Tournament men's national championship game in
A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into
the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Induction ceremonies will take
place Friday, September 7 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
Miller was one of the greatest clutch scorers in NBA history, playing his
entire 17-season NBA career with the Indiana Pacers and finishing as the
franchise's all-time leader with 25,279 points and 1,505 steals. The former
UCLA star ranks second on the NBA all-time list for three-point field goals
made with 2,560, and is ninth on the NBA career free-throw percentage list at
.888. He also has the most three-pointers made (320) in playoff history.
Pitino is the only coach in men's college basketball history to lead three
different schools to the NCAA Final Four, doing so with Providence, Kentucky
and Louisville. He led Kentucky to the 1996 national championship and then
reached the title game again with the Wildcats the following year. He has won
over 600 games in his collegiate career and reached the Final Four five
different times (1987, 1993, 1996, 1997 and 2005) while leading his teams to
20 postseason appearances. He also held two stints as an NBA head coach with
the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics, leading the Knicks to two playoff
Fitch won NBA top coach honors in 1976 and 1980, then led the Boston Celtics
to the NBA title in 1981. After leading North Dakota University to a pair of
NCAA Division II Final Fours, he spent 25 seasons as an NBA coach with five
different teams from 1970-98. He recorded over 900 wins and ranks eighth in
NBA history in victories while reaching five conference finals.
McClain is one of the most decorated athletes in USA Basketball national team
history, winning Olympic gold medals in 1988 and 1996, as well as Olympic
bronze in 1992. Before stepping onto the international stage, she was a two-
time All-America (1986, 1987) and the 1987 WBCA National Player of the Year at
the University of Georgia.
Cheeks finished his 15-year pro stint with 7,392 assists. He was a four-time
All-Star who helped the 76ers to the 1983 NBA title, and has gone on to NBA
coaching stints with Portland and Philadelphia. At his retirement, he was
fifth on the NBA's career list in both assists and steals with 2,310.
Sampson was best-known for his collegiate career at the University of
Virginia, where he was selected as a three-time national player of the year.
He helped Virginia to one Final Four appearance, then gained fame in the NBA
as one of the Rockets' Twin Towers -- along with Hakeem Olajuwon -- during the
club's run of success in the mid 1980s. He was the NBA's top rookie in 1984.
King was a four-time NBA All-Star and a two-time NBA First-Team selection
during a 15-year career that included stints with the New Jersey Nets, Utah
Jazz, Golden State Warriors, New York Knicks and Washington Bullets. He
averaged more than 22 points per game and was the NBA Comeback Player of the
Year in 1981.
Wilkes was a member of four NBA championship teams, first in 1975 with Golden
State and the Lakers in 1980, '82 and '85. After a stellar collegiate career
at UCLA, where he was a member of two national championships, Wilkes won the
1975 NBA Rookie of the Year and finished his 12-year career with an average of
17.7 points per game.
Motta guided the Washington Bullets to the 1978 NBA championship in a coaching
career that started at the junior college level in 1954. He has collected more
than 1,000 wins at the JC, high school, collegiate and NBA levels.
Nelson, a Hall finalist for the fifth time, is the all-time winningest coach
in NBA history with more than 1,300 victories and is one of only two coaches
to be named NBA Coach of the Year three times. He spent over 40 years of his
life as a player, coach and general manager, winning five titles as a player
with the Boston Celtics.
Nichols was a long-time official who has refereed six national championship
games and 10 Final Fours. After his officiating career, he became the national
coordinator of officials for the NCAA and was instrumental in the progression
of rules changes at the collegiate level.
The All American Red Heads were the first women's professional basketball
team, which regularly played more than 200 games per season while touring
thousands of miles reaching 49 states, Canada and the Philippines from 1936 to
Also announced Friday were five directly-elected members of the Class of 2012.
They include Mel Daniels, voted in from the American Basketball Association
(ABA) Committee, Don Barksdale from the Early African American Pioneers
Committee, Lidia Alexeeva from the International Committee, Chet Walker from
the Veterans Committee and Phil Knight from the Contributors Direct Election
This year marks the second year of the direct elect process.