SEATTLE — Nine-time NBA All-Star Gary Payton, who played 13 seasons for the Sonics, will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The announcement and the 2013 class will be revealed Monday at a news conference in Atlanta before the NCAA’s men’s championship game.
Payton is one of 12 finalists. The others are former NBA stars Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Bernard King, Tim Hardaway and Mitch Richmond, former Celtics coach Tom Heinsohn, former University of Houston coach Guy Lewis, Louisville coach Rick Pitino, former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian, former WNBA star Dawn Staley and North Carolina’s women’s coach Sylvia Hatchell.
Finalists need 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to be elected.
Richmond tweeted this week he will not be inducted this year. Lewis told The Associated Press that he will be inducted.
A source told The Times that Payton was a unanimous Hall of Fame choice.
The 6-foot-4, 180-pound guard is considered one of the best defensive players in NBA history. He’s the only point guard to win the league’s defensive player of the year award and was a first-team all-defensive team choice nine times. He made the All-NBA team nine times.
Payton, drafted No. 2 overall out of Oregon State in 1990, averaged 16.3 points, 6.9 assists and 4 rebounds during a 17-year career.
Two words are often used to describe Payton: brash and durable.
The Oakland, Calif., native was one of the game’s notorious trash-talkers, who jabbered away at opposing players, coaches and fans while constantly bobbing his head.
Often Payton backed up his words with deeds.
He missed just five games during his Sonics career — three due to injury and two because of separate team and league suspensions — and started every other contest.
The pinnacle of Payton’s career with the Sonics came in 1996 when he led the team to the NBA Finals against Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls. Seattle lost 4-2.
After a change in ownership and a contract dispute, the Sonics traded Payton to the Milwaukee Bucks on Feb. 20, 2003. He went to the NBA Finals with the Los Angeles Lakers in 2004 and spent a season with the Boston Celtics before finishing his career with the Miami Heat, where he won an NBA title in 2006. His last season was 2006-07.
Payton was a member of the gold-medal 1996 and 2000 U.S. men’s Olympic basketball teams.
The Hall of Fame previously announced five new members.
Roger Brown was voted in by the American Basketball Association Committee, Edwin B. Henderson by the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Oscar Schmidt by the International Committee, Richard Guerin by the Veterans Committee and Russ Granik by the Contributor Direct Election Committee.
Payton and the other new members will be enshrined during a Sept. 8 ceremony in Springfield, Mass.