Today we learned who the finalists for the NBA Hall of Fame Class of 2013 are, which means we’re one step closer to seeing if some of the best basketball players from the last 30 years make it to basketball immortality. Headlining this year’s list of finalists is former Seattle SuperSonics superstar Gary Payton and Golden State Warriors legend Tim Hardaway.
None of the names announced as finalists will set your world on fire, and it’s really absent of absolute legends, but that doesn’t mean the names who survived the cut aren’t worthy of the Hal of Fame.
Payton played 13 seasons for the SuperSonics and he strung together a five years stretch where he was named to the Western Conference All-Star team. Payton also has the recognition of being one of the toughest defensive opponents of Michael Jordan, consistently holding the legend in check and making it an event every time the Sonics and Bulls squared off.
Beyond that, Payton own just about every single major record in SuperSonics franchise history, a history that’s about to return to Seattle almost in time for Payton’s Hall of Fame announcement should he make the final cut.
Tim Hardaway is more recently remembered for his homophobic rant in 2007, but before that he was an outstanding guard for the Warriors and has rightfully earned his place as a finalist for the Hall of Fame.
In his career he was a member of ‘Run TMC’ which consisted of the high scoring trio of Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Chris Mullin. Hardaway spent the bulk of his career with the Golden State Warriors, but has his number retired by the Miami Heat as well, reinforcing how big of an impact he had on the franchises he played with throughout his career.
Hardaway was also the second fastest player to reach 5,000 points and 2,500 assists.
Other finalists for the NBA Hall of Fame include former Celtics coach and Louisville legend Rick Pitino, Tim Hardaway’s teammate Mitch Richmond and college basketball legend Jerry Tarkanian.
The class of 2013 will officially be announced in April as part of the Final Four festivities in Atlanta.