The screening committee for the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame announced their 2010 class of finalists on Friday (February 12) on the even of NBA’s All-Star Weekend.
Among the finalists are two-time NBA MVP Karl Malone, six-time champion Scottie Pippen, Chris Mullin, Dennis Johnson, coach Don Nelson, and four-time WNBA champion Cynthia Cooper.
The 1992 Dream Team is a finalist in the team category. That team included Malone, Pippen, Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and Larry Bird.
“It was great to play with Larry, Michael and all the guys after all those years,” Johnson said at the press conference. “They said there’s no way we could play together. They underestimated us from the beginning. We didn’t care who scored the points or got their name in the paper. All we cared about was bringing the gold back to the U.S.”
Eight members of the Dream Team are already in the Hall of Fame.
Malone was the NBA’s MVP in 1997 and ’99 and finished his career as the league’s #2 scorer with 36,928 points. But, he never won an NBA title, because Pippen and Jordan stood in his way when the Utah Jazz reached the finals.
Pippen, with the help of Jordan, won six titles in the 1990s and was a seven-time all-star.
Both players won gold in the 1996 Olympics, and both are expected to join former teammates in the Hall this year. Jordan and John Stockton, Malone’s longtime Jazz teammate, were part of last season’s class.
There were a total of 19 finalists were announced Friday, and the Hall of Fame Class of 2010 is set to be announced on April 5 in Indianapolis before the NCAA championship game.
The complete list of finalists include: Dennis Johnson, Bernard King, Malone, Chris Mullin, Pippen and Jamaal Wilkes; coaches Bob Hurley, Don Nelson and former Bulls assistant Tex Winter; contributor Jerry Buss and the two USA Olympic teams.
From the Women’s Screening Committee: Cynthia Cooper, Harley Redin and the All-American Red Heads team.
From the International Screening Committee: coach Vladimir Kondrashin and Brazilian legend Maciel “Ubiratan” Pereira. Richard Guerin and Gus Johnson represent the nominees from the Veteran’s Screening Committee.