Feb. 24, 2012
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced Friday the first five members of the Class of 2012, all of whom were directly elected by distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game of basketball. These direct-elects included - UCLA's Don Barksdale (from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee); Mel Daniels voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Lidia Alexeeva from the International Committee, Chet Walker from the Veterans Committee and Phil Knight from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
This year marks the second year of the direct-elect process. Last year, the ABA and Early African-American Pioneers committees were added to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting process and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball. These five individuals have been directly elected into the Basketball Hall of Fame and will be a part of the Enshrinement Ceremonies in September along with the eventual members from the North American and Women's committees.
Barksdale becomes the 10th Bruin to be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, joining John Wooden (inducted in 1960 as a player and in 1973 as a coach), Ann Meyers Drysdale (1993), Bill Walton (1993), Denny Crum (1994), Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (1995), Gail Goodrich (1996), Denise Curry (1997), Billie Moore (1999) and Larry Brown (2002).
Also announced Friday at the NBA All-Star Weekend in Orlando, FL, was an elite list of players, coaches, an official and one team as the 12 finalists from the North American and Women's committees to be considered for election in 2012. The recognition of being honored as a Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame finalist is a career highlight in the sport of basketball. This year's list includes four first-time finalists: five-time NBA All-Star and UCLA's Reggie Miller, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino, two-time NBA Coach of the Year Bill Fitch and two-time Olympic gold medalist. Previous finalists included again this year for consideration are UCLA's Jamaal Wilkes, who was a two-time All-American (1973/1974) and three-year starting forward on two (1972/1973) Coach Wooden UCLA NCAA Championship teams; Maurice Cheeks; Bernard King; Dick Motta; Don Nelson; Hank Nichols; Ralph Sampson and the All American Red Heads.
The entire Class of 2012 will be announced on Monday, April 2 at a news conference in New Orleans prior to the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game. A Finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The Class of 2012 will be enshrined during festivities in Springfield, Mass. on Friday, September 7. Tickets to the 2012 Enshrinement and Induction Celebration are available by calling the Hall of Fame at (413) 231-5540.
DON BARKSDALE [Contributor] - One of the true pioneers in the game of basketball, Barksdale broke the color barrier multiple times as the first African-American NCAA All-America (1947), the first to make the U.S. Olympic team (1948), and the first to play in a NBA All-Star game. Following his military service in World War II, Barksdale in 1946-47 earned All-America honors and led UCLA to the Pacific Coast Conference Southern Division championship. He became the first African-American signed by an American Basketball League (ABL) team with the Oakland Bittners, where he set the ABL scoring record in his debut season. Part of the 1948 Olympic team in London, he became the first-ever African-American to also win a gold medal in basketball. In 1951, he became one of the top 10 highest paid athletes with the Baltimore Bullets and was eventually traded to the Boston Celtics in 1953, where he became the first African-American player to be selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game (1953). In 1983, he launched the Save High School Sports Foundation, which raised over 1 million dollars by the time he passed away in 1993 to save several Oakland school athletic programs from demise.
REGGIE MILLER [Player] - Miller was one of the greatest clutch scorers in NBA history, playing his entire 17-season NBA career with the Indiana Pacers finishing as the franchise's all-time leader in points (25,279) and steals (1,505). He was a five-time NBA All-Star, three-time All-NBA Third Team selection and won an Olympic Gold Medal in 1996. From Los Angeles, he guided UCLA as a sophomore to the 1985 NIT Championship and as a senior (1986-87), he led UCLA to an NCAA Tournament berth, the Pac-10 regular season championship and to the first-ever Pac-10 Tournament title, named the Most Outstanding Player. He finished his Bruin career (1984-87) third on the school's all-time scoring list (2,095/17.2 average), third in field goals scored (769), third in three-point field goal percentage (.439, 69-157, the three-point collegiate rule was only in affect during Miller's senior season (1986-87) and fourth in free throw percentage (.836, 488-584). He ranks second on the NBA all-time list for three-point field goals made (2,560) and attempted (6,486). He is ninth on the NBA career free-throw percentage list (.888) and seventh in career minutes played (47,619). In addition to some memorable NBA playoff performances, he has the most three-pointers made (320) in playoff history.
JAMAAL WILKES [Player] - Wilkes, a California native, spent his entire high school, college and professional career in his home state, playing under Hall of Famer John Wooden at UCLA prior to a successful NBA career with the Golden State Warriors, Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. At UCLA, he won two National Championships (1972/1973), helped lead the Bruins to a record 88-game winning streak and received All-America and all-conference honors as a junior (1972-73) and senior (1973-74). During his three-year UCLA varsity career as a Bruin starting forward (1972-74), Wilkes, nicknamed `Silk' for his beautiful jump shot, appeared in 90 games and shot .514 (580-1129) from the floor, .750 (189-252) from the foul line and averaged 15.0ppg and 7.4rpg. He was also a three-time (1972-74) collegiate GTE Academic All-America selection. In the NBA, he won four championships (1975 Golden State, 1980-82-85 LA Lakers) while reaching the NBA finals six times. He was a three-time NBA All-Star, two-time NBA All-Defensive second team and received Rookie of the Year honors in 1975.