David Stern elected to Basketball Hall of Fame; Tim Hardaway, Alonzo Mourning are finalists
David Stern is going from the NBA commissioner's office to the Hall of Fame.
The recently retired Stern was elected Friday to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and will be enshrined with the class of 2014 on Aug. 8 in Springfield, Mass.
Stern was on a ski trip to Colorado on Friday with his wife while the NBA was holding its first All-Star weekend without him in charge since 1983. New Commissioner Adam Silver and many other league employees who worked under Stern attended the press conference.
"I wanted to be here for David because I knew he wasn't in New Orleans this weekend. Just to be here to share the experience and then relay it back to him what the feel in the room was," said Silver, who worked under Stern since 1992.
"As I said earlier, while David is a modest guy, I know he was moved by the fact this was all happening so quickly, and he has always told me he doesn't like to reflect back sort of on his life or his career, but this will certainly force him to. And I know this is an emotional moment for him and it's an emotional moment for everybody who has worked with him over these years."
Alonzo Mourning, Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond, Kevin Johnson and Spencer Haywood are hoping to be part of the class. They were chosen as finalists, with the full class to be unveiled April 7 during the NCAA Final Four.
Hardaway and Richmond were teammates in Golden State and made up the Warriors' "Run TMC" trio along with Chris Mullin, who was elected to the Hall in 2011. Hardaway played college basketball at UTEP.
Stern retired on Feb. 1 after exactly 30 years as commissioner, during which he brought the league to its greatest success. Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Hall of Fame board, said the Hall hopes to have a special spot to display a tribute to Stern.
"He deserves to be recognized in a huge way," Colangelo said.
Stern was elected by the contributors committee. Also directly elected to the Hall of Fame were Lithuania star Sarunas Marciulionis by the international committee, former Indiana Pacers coach Bob "Slick" Leonard by the ABA committee, former New York Knicks player Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton by the early African-American pioneers committee, and former Temple star Guy Rodgers by the veterans committee.
College coaches Eddie Sutton, Nolan Richardson and Gary Williams were also finalists, as were former women's coach Harley Redin and the women's team from Immaculata College, which won three straight national championships.
Tim Hardaway In Recent Years
Tim Hardaway, who in 2007 made waves for his anti-gay statements, became the first person to sign a petition in early July 2013 to repeal a 2008 Florida amendment banning same-sex unions.
Hardaway signed the Equal Marriage Florida petition at a public ceremony Wednesday night at a Miami tavern alongside EMF organizer Vanessa Brito.
"If true, this gladdens my heart tremendously," actor and gay rights advocate George Takei wrote on his Facebook page in July 2013. "I once 'called out' NBA star Tim Hardaway for his homo-hating ways. And now he has become an ally. People indeed do change if you give them a chance and keep open dialogue."
In late April, James Collins was the first active NBA player to come out as gay which led a lot of people on Twitter wondering what Hardaway thought of Collins' announcement.
"I'm happy for him. I know he hid it for a long time, but now he doesn’t have to hide it anymore," Hardaway told the Palm Beach Post in April regarding Collins' announcement. "He is who he is and everybody’s got to accept him for who he is.”
Hardaway was criticized nationally in 2007 after he made an anti-gay rant on a Miami radio show.
Hardaway told the Palm Beach Post in late April that what he said in 2007 was terrible.
"...It was bad and I live with it every day. It was like a bully going to beat up people every day. … They’re people just like we’re people. Let them live their lives just like we live our lives," Hardaway told the Palm Beach Post.
In Aug. 2011, Hardaway was a completely different person from the one in 2007 and was in El Paso to show support for the "No Recall" group that was formed to try and provoke a change of heart for those who oppose health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of City of El Paso employees.
"It's not right to not let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here," Hardaway said in El Paso in 2011 when he pledged his support to the "No Recall" group.
Hardaway has been working with gay rights groups in Miami since 2007.
"If I know El Paso, like they came together when the 1966 team won a championship and Don Haskins started those five guys, I know the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights," Hardaway said.
Hardaway told ABC-7 in 2011 his "change of heart" came from those closest to him.
"My family and friends came to me and was like, 'what are you doing?' I talked to them and they made me understand that wasn't right," he said. "
While some people still think the anti-gay rant is his legacy, Hardaway doesn't.
"But you know what, everybody thinks that's my legacy. That's not my legacy, my legacy is the UTEP 2-step," Hardaway said in 2011.
Hardaway was a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2013 but was not selected for induction. His son, Tim Hardaway Jr., was selected by the New York Knicks in the NBA Draft in June.
Copyright 2012 KVIA. The Associated Press contributed to this report. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.