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Five new members, finalists named for Hall of Fame

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The first five members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014 were announced on Friday, and nine individuals and one team were named as finalists for consideration for election in 2014.

The five Direct Elects include Bob “Slick” Leonard voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Nat Clifton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Sarunas Marciulionis from the International Committee, Guy Rodgers from the Veterans Committee and former NBA commissioner David Stern from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.

These five new committees were established in 2011 to directly elect one nominee into the Naismith from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.

This year’s list of finalists includes six first-time finalists: three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, 1994 Naismith and NABC Coach of the Year Nolan Richardson, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton, two-time NCAA championship coach Gary Williams and Immaculata University’s AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s.

Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, six-time AAU National Champion coach Harley Redin and six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond.

The entire Class of 2014 will be announced on Monday, April 7.

A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors committee to be elected into the Hall.

Those elected will be inducted in Springfield, Mass., in August.

Former player, coach and NBA executive Alvin Attles was selected to receive the 2014 John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.

Sportswriter Joe Gilmartin and broadcaster John Andariese were named the recipients of the 2014 Curt Gowdy Media Award.

Leonard coached the Pacers to ABA titles in 1970, 1972 and 1973. He currently is in his 29th year with the team as a broadcaster after coaching the team from 1968 to 1980.

Stern served as NBA Commissioner from 1984 until 2014. During his tenure, the league expanded from 23 to 30 teams and television revenue increased from $10 million per year to approximately $900 million per year.

Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton is known for being the second piece in the NBA’s first Big Three as the first African American to sign an NBA contract. He joins Chuck Cooper and Earl Lloyd in what many call basketball’s version of the Holy Trinity. Clifton recorded 5,444 points and 4,469 rebounds in eight NBA seasons. He also played for the Harlem Globetrotters.

Sarunas Marciulionis, who is from Lithuania, was the first Soviet player in the NBA. He earned four Lithuanian Sportsman of the Year awards and played seven seasons in the NBA.

Guy Rodgers was a four-time NBA All-Star (1963, 1964, 1966, 1967) and led Temple University to the NCAA Final Four twice.

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.

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