Source: Gary Payton elected to Basketball HOF
APR 04, 2013 5:49p ET
A source confirmed Thursday that Gary Payton will be named Monday to the Basketball Hall of Fame at the Final Four in Atlanta.
The guard had his greatest seasons with the Seattle SuperSonics. However, he won his only NBA title with the Miami Heat in 2006, and could become the first former Heat player in the Hall of Fame at the Sept. 8 induction ceremonies.
Former Miami star guard Tim Hardaway also is a finalist this year for election.
The source also confirmed Payton will choose as his presenters for the induction ceremony in Springfield, Mass., Hall of Fame guards John Stockton and George Gervin. Payton had revealed that choice last November to FOX Sports Florida for whenever he would be enshrined.
“John Stockton is someone that I respect and was the toughest basketball player I played (against),’’ Payton had said. “George Gervin, because I admired him ever since I was (growing up). Those are guys that I respect a lot.’’
Payton played in the NBA from 1990-2007 with the SuperSonics, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Heat. He averaged 16.3 points and 6.7 assists.
Nicknamed “The Glove’’ due to his defensive prowess, Payton was the 1995-96 NBA Defensive Player of the Year. He made the All-NBA Defensive first team nine times and nine times was named to the All-NBA first, second or third team.
“My numbers are there,’’ Payton said last November about his Hall of Fame prospects. “I did everything that I had to do."
Payton, whose election to the Hall was first reported by NBA.com, played his final two seasons with the Heat. Although he no longer was a star, he hit what turned out to be the game-winning jumper in Game 3 of the Finals as Miami stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to stun Dallas 4-2.
“The Heat is always special to me because of Pat Riley (the Heat president and Payton’s coach during his final 1½ Miami seasons),’’ Payton had said. “He helped me to get a special moment.’’
Another player with South Florida ties revealed Thursday he did not make the Hall of Fame. Former star guard Mitch Richmond, a native of Fort Lauderdale who was among the 12 finalists, revealed on Twitter, “I just Got some Bad News, i Didnt make the hall of fame. Sad day.’’
Also, a source said Boston Celtics legend Tom Heinsohn, who already is in the Hall of Fame as a player, will not be named Monday as a coach. Heinsohn was trying to join John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens and Bill Sharman as men inducted as both a player and a coach.
The other eight finalists whose fate will be publicly announced Monday are women’s college coach Sylvia Hatchell, former women’s star Dawn Staley, college coaches Rick Pitino, Jerry Tarkanian and Guy Lewis, and former NBA players Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood and Bernard King.
Five men were elected in February to be part of the 2013 class. They were West Palm Beach resident and former NBA guard Richie Guerin, former ABA forward Roger Brown, former Brazilian star Oscar Schmidt, former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik and Edwin B. Henderson, chosen by the Early African-American Pioneers Committee.
Chris Tomasson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @christomasson
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