Miller, Sampson, Nelson headline 2012 Hall of Fame class

Published April 02, 2012

| Sports Network

Reggie Miller, Ralph Sampson and Don Nelson are among this year's inductees for the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Miller, a five-time NBA All-Star, Sampson, a three-time collegiate national player of the year, and Nelson, the winningest coach in NBA history, will join a 2012 class that also includes Jamaal Wilkes, Katrina McClain, Hank Nichols and the first women's pro basketball team, the All American Red Heads.

Enshrinement ceremonies are set for September 7 in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Also inducted will be five directly-elected members who were announced in February. They include Mel Daniels, voted in from the American Basketball Association (ABA) Committee, Don Barksdale from the Early African-American Pioneers Committee, Lidia Alexeeva from the International Committee, Chet Walker from the Veterans Committee and Phil Knight from the Contributors Direct Election Committee.

"The Class of 2012 is a true representation of the game of basketball, reaching all levels within the sport," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. "We are pleased with the changes to the voting process by adding the direct elects and the impact it will make on recognizing the game's true ambassadors into the future."

Miller was one of the greatest clutch scorers in NBA history, playing his entire 17-season career with the Indiana Pacers and finishing as the franchise's all-time leader with 25,279 points and 1,505 steals. The former UCLA star ranks second on the NBA all-time list for three-point field goals made with 2,560, and is ninth on the NBA career free-throw percentage list at .888. He also has the most three-pointers made (320) in playoff history.

Sampson was best-known for his collegiate career at the University of Virginia in the early 1980s. A three-time Naismith Award winner and two-time Wooden Award recipient, he helped Virginia to one Final Four appearance, then gained fame in the NBA as one of the Rockets' Twin Towers -- along with Hakeem Olajuwon -- during the club's run of success in the mid 1980s. He was the NBA's top rookie in 1984 and the All-Star Game MVP in 1985.

Nelson, who was a finalist for the fifth time, has more than 1,300 NBA victories and is one of only two coaches to be named NBA Coach of the Year three times. He spent over 40 years of his life as a player, coach and general manager, winning five titles as a player with the Boston Celtics. The teams he coached made 18 postseason appearances and amassed 75 playoff wins.

Wilkes was a member of four NBA championship teams, first in 1975 with Golden State and the Lakers in 1980, '82 and '85. After a stellar collegiate career at UCLA, where he was a member of two national championships, Wilkes won the 1975 NBA Rookie of the Year and finished his 12-year career with an average of 17.7 points per game.

McClain is one of the most decorated athletes in USA Basketball national team history, winning Olympic gold medals in 1988 and 1996, as well as Olympic bronze in 1992. Before stepping onto the international stage, she was a two- time All-America (1986, 1987) and the 1987 WBCA National Player of the Year at the University of Georgia.

Nichols was a long-time official who has refereed six national championship games and 10 Final Fours. After his officiating career, he became the national coordinator of officials for the NCAA and was instrumental in the progression of rules changes at the collegiate level.

The All American Red Heads were known as the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters and regularly played more than 200 games per season while touring thousands of miles reaching 49 states, Canada and the Philippines from 1936 to 1986.

Among the notable finalists that didn't receive the required 18 votes from the 24-member Honors Committee were NCAA championship head coach Rick Pitino, former NBA stars Bernard King and Maurice Cheeks, and coaches Bill Fitch and Dick Motta.

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