Dennis Rodman, Jamaal Wilkes and Tex Winter were among 12 finalists announced Friday for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
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Rodman was the flamboyant rebounder who won five NBA titles with Chicago and Detroit; Wilkes won four NBA titles with Golden State and the Lakers after starring at UCLA; and Winter was the architect of the triangle and triple-post offense.
”I am truly humbled, privileged and honored,” said Wilkes, who attended the announcement in Los Angeles, site of this weekend’s All-Star game.
Rodman’s agent, Darren Prince, called him in Florida with the news.
”He’s really more excited for his children and to secure a legacy for them. They’re at an age where they’re starting to know who their dad was,” Prince said. ”He’s taken aback a little bit because he’s not used to being isolated as an individual for what he’s done. He was the most unselfish teammate.”
Hall of Fame member David Robinson experienced Rodman first-hand when he played against him as a member of the San Antonio Spurs.
”He was annoying,” Robinson said. ”He just would be in your shorts all the time, always there with you. He was a very, very strong guy – a little bit undersized at times, but he never let it stop him. He had relentless energy, and he had no fear.”
Kobe Bryant weighed in on Winter’s candidacy, having spent time with him when Winter was a Lakers special assistant coach.
”I don’t know how he’s not in the Hall of Fame. That’s just disgraceful,” Bryant said. ”He should have been in the Hall of Fame a long time ago.”
The other finalists are former NBA stars Maurice Cheeks, Chris Mullin and Ralph Sampson, five-time Olympian Teresa Edwards, Stanford women’s coach Tara VanDerveer, former NBA coach Dick Motta, Philadelphia University coach Herb Magee, college referee Hank Nichols, and Al Attles, the current vice president and assistant general manager of the Golden State Warriors.
To be inducted, finalists must receive at least 18 votes from a 24-member committee.
Those elected will be introduced April 3 at the men’s Final Four in Houston. The induction ceremony is at the hall in Springfield, Mass., from Aug. 11-13.
Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Hall of Fame’s board, said four others will be elected directly into the hall representing four categories: African-American pioneers before the mid-50s, veterans, the defunct American Basketball League, and international.
Their names will be announced in Houston.
”There’s more opportunity for others to get in,” Colangelo said. ”If we continue with this process for the next four, five years, you’re going to see another 16 to 20 people in the Hall of Fame that might not have been in, and I think that’s great.”
Among the nominees not chosen as finalists this year were former Indiana Pacers star Reggie Miller and Don Nelson, the NBA’s winningest coach.
”Although I’m disappointed not to be included on this year’s HOF ballot, I sincerely wish the best of luck to this year’s class of finalists, all of whom I admire and respect greatly,” Miller said in a statement.
Miller, who works as a broadcaster for TNT, was a first-time nominee, and no first-timers were named finalists.
”Reggie just didn’t get enough traction this time. He’s a first-time candidate, that speaks nothing about the future,” Colangelo said. ”Next year could be a whole different story for Reggie Miller. He’s certainly a candidate going forward.”
Nelson was a previous contender. The final year of his contract with Golden State was bought out after last season.
”Nellie just couldn’t get over the hump,” Colangelo said. ”I think it was just a collective ‘didn’t get the traction’ in terms of the group he was considered with.”
Colangelo said the hall is working on lining up a sponsor to include fan participation in the voting.
He is pushing for a more transparent selection process, short of revealing the names of committee members who vote on potential inductees. Colangelo selects those members, whom he says include four media members; two Hall of Famers; two coaches; and a current NBA general manager.
”We’re trying to protect those individuals from not being politicked,” he said. ”We want the system to remain pure. It is. I can say that because I select the people who are on the committees and I overview the committee work, and I know it’s pure. But we’re going to let people know how that really works.”