All-Stars Webber, Sikma, Westphal among 13 Hall finalists

CHARLOTTE (AFP) – Seven-time National Basketball Association (NBA) All-Star Jack Sikma and five-time NBA All-Stars Chris Webber and Paul Westphal were among 13 people named on Friday as finalists for 2019 induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Candidates were announced as festivities began in Charlotte, North Carolina, ahead of the 68th NBA All-Star Game.

Eight players, four coaches and 28-year NBA referee Hugh Evans were among those advanced forward from screenings committees to the full selction committee. Finalists need 18 of 24 votes for election into the Hall of Fame.

Inductees will be announced in early April with enshrinement on September 5-7 in ceremonies at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Other NBA finalists include five-time All-Stars Sidney Moncrief and Marques Johnson, four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace and eight-time All-Defensive First Teamer Bobby Jones.

Paul Westphal, shown during his days coaching the Sacramento Kings, was among 13 finalists named on Friday for the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame induction class. – AFP

Also on the list were two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch, all-time winningest high school coach Leta Andrews, top college coaches Eddie Sutton and Barbara Stevens and five-time Women’s NBA All-Star Theresa Thompson.

Sikma, who helped Seattle to the 1979 NBA crown, averages 15.6 points, 9.8 rebounds and 3.2 assists a game over 14 NBA seasons and is the only centre to be the most accurate free throw shooter in a season, hitting 92.2 per cent in 1987-1988.

Webber was a star at the prep and college levels, leading Michigan’s ‘Fab Five’ to the United States college basketball ‘Final Four’ runs in 1992 and 1993, then jumped into the NBA and averaged more than 20 points for nine consecutive seasons.

Westphal helped Boston win the 1974 NBA title and averaged 15.6 points and 4.4 assists over 12 NBA seasons.

In addition, the Hall of Fame announced its 2019 lifetime achievement awards would go to Del Harris, who has coached at all levels of the sport in a 50-year career, and Harry Glickman, who helped create the Portland Trail Blazers.

Harris became the first foreign coach to guide the Chinese national men’s basketball team, where future NBA star Yao Ming was among his players.