For the second year in a row former Sixers point guard and coach Maurice Cheeks was named a finalist for election to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, and for the second year in a row, he reportedly will fall short.
The official announcement comes Monday, but Cheeks told reporters that he received word that he was not elected to the Hall of Fame.
Eighteen votes of the 24 cast are needed for election to the Hall of Fame.
Instead, reports indicate that former Celtics forward and long-time NBA coach Don Nelson will be enshrined this summer. Reggie Miller is also expected to be elected alongside Nelson after falling short on last years ballot.
However, word is leaking out that Cheeks wasnt the lone snub amongst this years finalists. Louisville coach Rick Pitino revealed that he did not make it and the same goes for legendary New York scorer Bernard King. Other finalists include coach Bill Fitch, two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain, former NBA coach Dick Motta, referee Hank Nichols, University of Virginia legend and Houston Rockets center Ralph Sampson, Lakers swingman Jamaal Wilkes, and the All-American Red Heads -- a female version of the Harlem Globetrotters.
In missing election, Cheeks will be the most notable snub this year. When he retired following the 1993 season, Cheeks was the all-time leader in steals and was second behind Oscar Robertson in career 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.
Cheeks, of course, was a 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, hes the top assistant for ex-Sixers teammate Scott Brooks with the Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City Thunder, where he is a mentor for All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook.
Had Cheeks been elected, the enshrinement ceremony in September would have been a decidedly Philadelphia affair. Already, Chet Walker, a forward on the 1966-67 championship team, was chosen for induction by the veterans committee and former 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.
Its actually surprising that he hasnt been included in the Hall of Fame already, Brooks told Sporting News last month. I have known him since I was his rookie back in my rookie year in the late 80s in Philadelphia. I have known him for more than 20 years. He represents himself and the NBA and the game of basketball in the highest form that you can represent it.
He was the best all-around true point guard in the history of basketball, Williams told The Sporting News.