For the third straight year, former Sixers all-star and head coach, Maurice Cheeks, has been nominated as a finalist for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
The announcement came on Friday at the festivities surrounding Sunday’s NBA All-Star Game in Houston.
Cheeks played for the Sixers after being drafted in the second round in 1978 from West Texas State until the 1988-89 season when he was traded to San Antonio. He retired following the 1992-93 season after stints with the Knicks, Hawks and Nets.
When he retired, Cheeks was the NBA’s all-time leader in steals and was second behind Oscar Robertson in all-time assists. He still ranks fifth in steals and 10th in assists these days, and was a four-time all-star and four-time first team All-Defense.
In last year’s Hall of Fame voting, Cheeks just fell short of the 18 (out of 24) votes needed for induction. Reggie Miller, Don Nelson, Jamaal Wilkes and Ralph Sampson were elected from the North American committee, while former Sixer Chet Walker was elected by the Hall of Fame’s veterans committee.
Also last year former Sixers general manager Pat Williams was presented the John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Williams was the GM of the 1982-83 championship team that featured Cheeks and Hall of Famers Moses Malone, Julius Erving and coach Billy Cunningham.
Cheeks was an integral member of the 1982-83 World Champion Sixers and has his No. 10 hanging in the rafters at the Wells Fargo Center. Cheeks coached the Sixers for parts of four seasons after spending four years at the helm of the Portland Trailblazers. These days, he’s the top assistant for ex-Sixers teammate Scott Brooks with the Northwest Division-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, where he is a mentor for All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.
Also nominated in Houston were five-time NBA all-star Tim Hardaway, three-time National Coach of the Year Sylvia Hatchell, two-time NBA Championship coach Tom Heinsohn, nine-time NBA all-star Gary Payton, five-time WNBA all-star and former Temple University coach Dawn Staley and six-time NBA all-star Mitch Richmond.
Included again on the list of nominees along with Cheeks are four-time NBA all-star Spencer Haywood, four-time NBA all-star Bernard King, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Guy Lewis, six-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino and four-time NCAA Final Four coach Jerry Tarkanian.
The new inductees will be announced at the 2013 NCAA Final Four in Atlanta.