Pitino Headlines Basketball Hall of Fame Class With King, Payton
Also honored yesterday were Sylvia Hatchell, Dawn Staley, Guy Lewis and Jerry Tarkanian, who were selected for induction by a 24-member North American committee.
Pitino, 60, now the coach at the University of Louisville, has won 662 collegiate games, led his teams to 22 postseason appearances and reached the NCAA tournament’s Final Four seven times with a record three different schools.
“Coaches don’t just get into the Hall of Fame,” Pitino said yesterday at the shrine in Springfield, Massachusetts. “Players put them into the Hall of Fame.”
Pitino in April became the first coach in college basketball history to win the National Collegiate Athletic Association tournament at two different schools, as Louisville defeated Michigan. He also won the 1996 NCAA title while at the University of Kentucky.
Pitino had a 192-220 record in six years as a National Basketball Association coach with the New York Knicks and Boston Celtics. He had just one winning season, with the Knicks in 1988-89, and made the playoffs twice.
King, 56, averaged 22.5 points and 5.8 rebounds per game in a 15-year career with five teams, including the Knicks and New Jersey Nets. A four-time All-Star, King led the NBA in scoring in 1984-85 as a member of the Knicks.
“To put on the same jersey as Knicks legends I watched as a kid was unbelievable,” King said. “I treasured playing for the Knicks and the great fans of New York.”
Payton, 45, played 17 NBA seasons, primarily with the Seattle SuperSonics, averaging 16.3 points and 6.7 assists per game. A nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-Defensive First Team selection, Payton won an NBA championship with the Miami Heat in 2006 and gold medals with the U.S. team at the 1996 and 2000 Olympics.
Five others previously were chosen for 2013 Hall of Fame induction through special panels: Roger Brown, who was voted in by the American Basketball Association Committee; Edwin B. Henderson, from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee; Oscar Schmidt, from the International Committee; Richie Guerin, from the Veterans Committee, and Russ Granik, a former NBA deputy commissioner, from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
The Hall of Fame was established in 1959 and has 313 inductees, including former players, coaches, referees, teams and other contributors to the game, according to its website. Players become eligible five years after retirement; coaches and referees must be retired for five years or have worked fulltime for at least 25 years.
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