ORLANDO – Former Pacer big man Mel Daniels was among five people elected to the Hall of Fame in results announced Friday as part of a new format designed to generate more recognition for some inductees before the biggest names, the NBA representatives, are revealed at the Final Four.
Previously, the Hall used All-Star weekend to release the list of finalists in every category, before those candidates are reviewed by another committee as the last step to induction in Springfield, Mass. Now, the winners from the five classifications that don’t require that last step as part of a direct-elect process will be announced as part of All-Star weekend, along with finalists from the North American and Women’s field.
The inductees: Daniels (ABA), Don Barksdale (Early African-American Pioneers), Lidia Alexeeva (International), former Bulls standout Chet Walker (Veterans) and Nike chairman Phil Knight (Contributor).
Also, Magic executive Pat Williams was named winner of the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award, and long-time Bulls writer Sam Smith (print) and former Trail Blazers broadcaster Bill Schonley (electronic) will receive the Curt Gowdy Media Awards.
Twelve finalists for induction via the North American and Women’s Committee were revealed. The inductees from that group will be announced at the Final Four.
The finalists: Katrina McClain, the All American Red Heads barnstorming women’s team, Maurice Cheeks, Bill Fitch, Bernard King, Reggie Miller, Dick Motta, Don Nelson, college referee Hank Nichols, Rick Pitino, Ralph Sampson and Jamaal Wilkes.