Jackson, Mullin, Vitale among Hall of Fame finalists

Updated: February 16, 2007, 7:51 PM ET
Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- Phil Jackson, Chris Mullin and Dick Vitale led the list of 15 finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame announced during the NBA's All-Star weekend Friday.

They were joined by former players Adrian Dantley and Richie Guerin; coaches Roy Williams, Eddie Sutton and Bob Hurley Sr.; owner Bill Davidson; and the 1966 Texas Western NCAA championship team.

Chris Mullin
Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesChris Mullin was a five-time All-Star during 16 NBA seasons.

Referee Mendy Rudolph, Yugoslavian coach Mirko Novosel, Spanish coach Pedro Ferrandiz and former U.S. women's basketball coaches Van Chancellor and Harley Redin also were selected by the four screening committees that nominate finalists.

A 24-person committee will vote on the final selection, with the potential enshrinees needing 18 votes to enter the Hall of Fame. The 2007 class will be announced April 2 at the Final Four in Atlanta, with the induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 7.

Mullin, a former St. John's star, was a five-time All-Star during 16 NBA seasons with Golden State and Indiana, scoring 17,911 points while emerging as one of the league's best shooters. Now the Warriors' head of basketball operations, he also played in two Olympics.

"It would be the ultimate to get in, but it's even a thrill to be voted on," said Mullin, the three-time Big East player of the year. "I've been the recipient of such good things in my basketball career. I feel like I had great timing, and I've been helped by a great number of people."

Jackson is the most successful coach of his generation, winning nine NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Lakers. A former forward with the New York Knicks, he is in his second stint with the Lakers after winning six titles with the Michael Jordan-led Bulls.

Vitale parlayed his brief stint as an NBA coach into a career as perhaps the most recognizable broadcaster in basketball history. The ESPN analyst is a beloved figure in the sport, with legions of fans at every major NCAA arena.

Dantley was an undersized power forward who played for seven teams and became one of the NBA's most unlikely high-scoring stars. He spent seven of his 15 seasons with the Utah Jazz, carrying the once-moribund franchise with a scoring average that never dropped below 26 points.

Williams led Kansas for 15 seasons before moving to North Carolina, where he led his alma mater to the 2005 national title. Sutton retired last season after leading Arkansas, Kentucky and Oklahoma State to a 798-315 record.

Texas Western's 1966 team coached by Don Haskins won the NCAA title with a starting lineup featuring five black players -- a groundbreaking first in collegiate athletics. The team was the subject of a 2006 movie, "Glory Road."

Earl Monroe, David Thompson, Dominique Wilkins and Moses Malone were among the Hall of Famers in attendance at a Las Vegas casino to announce the finalists.

"It's a great class with a lot of talent in a lot of different directions," Wilkins said. "I'd be glad to welcome anybody in this class into the Hall."


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press