NEW ORLEANS -- David Stern has been elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame just two weeks after the end of his 30-year tenure as NBA commissioner.
Stern headlines a group of six people that have been elected directly to the Hall of Fame, it was announced Friday. Additionally, seven-time All-Star center Alonzo Mourning leads a group of 10 finalists who could earn enshrinement as part of the 2014 class.
"[It's an honor] to even be considered to be part of this prestigious fraternity," Mourning said Friday, when asked what was going through his head following the announcement. "[You] think about all the trials and tribulations that you had to go through since I picked up a ball when I was eight years old. Just to think that this time has come. It also lets you know that basketball is over with."
Joining Stern, who was nominated from the "Contributor" committee, on the list of direct elects: Bob "Slick" Leonard (ABA), Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton (Early African American Pioneers), Sarunas Marciulionis (International) and Guy Rodgers (Veterans).
In addition to Mourning, the 2014 finalists include fellow NBA players Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Mitch Richmond, and Spencer Haywood; NCAA coaches Nolan Richardson, Eddie Sutton and Gary Williams; women's coach Harley Redin; and Immaculata University, a women's collegiate team that won three consecutive AIAW national championships in the 1970s.
“We are proud to present a distinguished group of finalists for the Class of 2014 who have made huge strides in the game of basketball,” Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo said in a statement. “Each finalist has made a difference to the game in their own way. It’s not going to be easy for the Honors Committee to select the final class members.”
Notably absence from this year's list of finalists: Chris Webber and Anfernee Hardaway. The Point Forward gauged their chances back in September.
The Hall of Fame's 2014 class will be officially announced on April 7 in advance of the NCAA title game. Mourning and the other finalists will need to receive at least 18 out of 24 votes from a voting committee to earn induction. Enshrinement festivities will take place in August at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Al Attles, a former NBA player, coach and executive, received the John W. Bunn lifetime achievement award. Sportswriter Joe Gilmartin and television broadcaster John Andariese were the recepients of the Curt Gowdy Media Award, in the print and electronic categories, respectively.