Bernard King, Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway among NBA Hall of Fame finalists

Gary Payton was named as one of the

Gary Payton was named as one of the NBA Hall of Fame finalists. (Credit: AP)

HOUSTON - Gary Payton, Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond are among 12 finalists for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The announcement of the finalists kicked off All-Star Weekend in Houston.

Former Houston Cougars coach Guy Lewis has been chosen as a finalist for the first time since 2003. Current Louisville coach Rick Pitino and former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian also are finalists for the 2013 class.

The others includes former NBA stars Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood and Bernard King, longtime North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell and five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley. Boston Celtics great Tom Heinsohn, already inducted as a player, is a finalist in the coaching category.

The 2013 class will be announced at the Final Four in April.

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