Lakers point guard Gary Payton scores on a driving layup against Minnesota… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)
The Basketball Hall of Fame's finalists for the 2013 class have strong California connections with two-thirds of Golden State's Run TMC -- Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond -- joining Oakland native and former Laker Gary Payton as well as former Long Beach State and Fresno State coach Jerry Tarkanian among the 12 still under consideration.
The announcement of the finalists is a prelude to the NBA's All-Star Weekend in Houston. The inductees will be announced at the Final Four in April.
Forward Chris Mullin, the other member of Run TMC, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011. With Hardaway and Richmond in the backcourt, the Warriors became an offensive juggernaut. Hardaway, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.2 assists a game in his 13-year career, became the second-fastest player in NBA history to amass 5,000 points and 2,500 assists, trailing only Oscar Robertson. Richmond averaged 21 points a game in his 14-year career.
Payton, known as "The Glove" for his defensive prowess, is the only point guard to win the NBA's defensive player of the year award. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.7 assists a game in his 17-year career. He also averaged 1.8 steals and only 2.3 turnovers a game.
Two other college coaches, Houston's Guy Lewis and Louisville's Rick Pitino, are also finalists, as is former Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn, who is already enshrined as a player, and longtime North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell.
The other players under consideration are former NBA all-stars Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood and Bernard King, and former WNBA all-star Dawn Staley.
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