Five Direct-Elect Members Announced for the Class of 2014 by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
David Stern headlines direct-elect nomination at NBA All-Star Weekend
NEW ORLEANS, LA and SPRINGFIELD, MA – The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced today the first five members of the Class of 2014. These specific categories were directly elected by distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. These direct-elects include Bob Leonard voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Nat Clifton from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Sarunas Marciulionis from the International Committee, Guy Rodgers from the Veterans Committee and David Stern from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
These five new committees were established in 2011 to directly elect one nominee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This change was made to ensure that the Hall of Fame maintains a strong focus on presenting accurate historical information while utilizing voters who are intimately familiar with the special category they have been assigned to evaluate. These five individuals have officially been directly elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame and will be a part of the Enshrinement Ceremonies in August.
These electees will join the eventual candidates for the Class of 2014 from the North American and Women’s committees from a pool of finalists that includes five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, four-time NBA All-Star Spencer Haywood, three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson, seven-time NBA All-Star Alonzo Mourning, six-time AAU National Champion Coach Harley Redin, six-time NBA All-Star Mitch Richmond, 1994 NCAA National Champion coach Nolan Richardson, 2002 NCAA National Champion coach Gary Williams, four-time National Coach of the Year Eddie Sutton and Immaculata University’s AIAW National Championship teams of the early 1970s.
The entire Class of 2014 will be announced on Monday, April 7 at a news conference in North Texas prior to the NCAA Men’s Championship game. In order to be elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, a finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors committee. The Class of 2014 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. in August. Tickets to the 2014 Enshrinement and Induction Celebration are available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 231-5540.
From the ABA Committee:
BOB LEONARD [Coach] – Nicknamed “Slick,” Leonard is the winningest coach in ABA history, having compiled an overall ABA coaching record of 387-270 (.589). He led the Indiana Pacers to three ABA championships (1970, 1972, 1973) and five ABA Finals (1969, 1970, 1972, 1973, 1975). Rival ABA coaches often called him the “best seventh game coach in the business” after he led the Indiana Pacers’ only team to win three ABA championships and their only team to win back-to-back ABA championships. Leonard holds an ABA record 69 playoff victories and coached an ABA record 166 ABA playoff games. He also compiled a 69-47 ABA playoff record (.595) and led the Indiana Pacers to three Divisional titles (1969, 1970, 1971). Leonard finished his career with an overall coaching record of 573-534 (.518).
From the Contributor Direct Election Committee:
DAVID STERN [Contributor] – Stern served as NBA Commissioner from 1984 until 2014, was Executive Vice-President of the NBA from 1980-84 and was part of the NBA General Counsel from 1978-80. Stern oversaw more than 30 years of NBA development and expansion across all fields – financially, exposure, image and more. During his tenure, the league expanded from 23 to 30 teams and television revenue increased from $10 million per year to approximately $900 million per year. Stern implemented several rule changes to improve the game, instituted the age limit for NBA Draft entries, the NBA Draft Lottery and managed the relocation of six franchises. He oversaw the launch of the NBA Developmental League, NBA/WNBA Cares and Basketball Without Borders. Stern has made himself known as a huge force in making the NBA one of the most popular sports leagues in the world.
From the Early African American Pioneers Committee:
NAT CLIFTON [Contributor] – Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton is known for being the second piece in the NBA’s first Big Three as the first African American to sign an NBA contract. He joins Chuck Cooper and Earl Lloyd in what many call basketball’s version of the Holy Trinity. Clifton recorded 5,444 points (10.0 ppg) and 4,469 rebounds (8.2 rpg) in eight NBA seasons. Having had experience with the Harlem Globetrotters, Clifton reveled in the spotlight and shined at the 1957 NBA All-Star game, where he recorded eight points, eleven rebounds and three assists. He also shares the single-game record for field goals with 21 at Xavier. Clifton passed away on August 31, 1990 and is an enshrinee in the Black Athletes Hall of Fame.
From the International Committee:
SARUNAS MARCIULIONIS [Player] – Marciulionis hails from Kaunas, Lithuania as the first Soviet player in the NBA. He earned four Lithuanian Sportsman of the Year awards (1987, 1989, 1990, 1991) and was MVP of the European Championships in 1995. In his seven NBA seasons, Marciulionis averaged 12.8 points and 1.3 steals per game. A principal figure in developing basketball in Lithuania, he founded the North European Basketball League and served as the first commissioner and founded the Lithuanian Basketball League and served as the first president in 1993. Marciulionis resurrected the Lithuanian national team in the early 1990’s and led the movement to participate in the 1992 Olympic games.
From the Veterans Committee:
GUY RODGERS [Player] – Before becoming a four-time NBA All-Star (1963, 1964, 1966, 1967), Rodgers led Temple University to the NCAA Final Four (1956, 1958), was a unanimous First Team All-American (1958) and was part of the NCAA All-Tournament Team (1958). He scored 1,767 career points (19.6 ppg), which was the best in Temple history. In his 12 NBA seasons he compiled 10,415 points (11.7 ppg) and 6,917 assists (7.7 apg). He led the NBA in assists in 1963 (10.6 apg) and in 1967 (11.2 apg). Rodgers has MVP recognitions from the Big Five (1956, 1957, 1958), the College All-Stars Globetrotters Tour (1958) and the Holiday Festival (1957). He is an enshrinee in the Big Five Hall of Fame as well. Rodgers passed away February 19, 2001.