Ginobili among 11 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists

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CLEVELAND — San Antonio Spurs legend and four-time NBA champion Manu Ginobili and WNBA legends Swin Cash and Lindsay Whalen headlined the 11 finalists from the North American and Women’s Committees for the Naismith Hall of Fame Class of 2022.

The other eight finalists were: former Los Angeles Laker Michael Cooper; former Milwaukee Bucks forward Marques Johnson; longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans; longtime college coach Bob Huggins; longtime NBA coach George Karl; women’s college and WNBA coach Marianne Stanley; five-time All-Star Tim Hardaway; and Texas girls’ high school basketball coach Leta Andrews.

Ginobili – one of two people, along with Hall of Famer Bill Bradley, to win a Euroleague title, NBA title and a gold medal – became one of the faces of the Spurs dynasty, alongside Hall of Famer Tim Duncan and future Hall of Famer Tony Parker, and won the gold medal with Argentina in 2004, and a bronze medal in 2008. His willingness to come off the bench for the majority of his career helped turn San Antonio’s second units into devastating weapons.

Cash won three NBA championships, two NCAA championships and two Olympic gold medals on her way to being named one of the 20 best WNBA players of all-time in 2016. She also was a two-time All-Star Game MVP, and a four-time All-Star. Whalen, like Cash, also was a three-time WNBA champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, making five All-Star teams and three WNBA First Teams during her 15-year career with the Connecticut Sun.

Cooper was one of the defensive anchors of the great Lakers teams of the 1980s, winning five NBA championships while earning five All-Defensive Team nods and the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award in 1987. Johnson made five All-Star teams with the Bucks, and won a national championship during his collegiate career at UCLA, while Evans was an NBA referee for 28 years, a run that saw him officiate 170 playoff games, 35 NBA Finals games and four NBA All-Star Games.

Hardaway was a five-time All-Star and Olympic gold medalist whose signature crossover devastated opponents throughout his 13 NBA seasons, primarily with the Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat. Karl has the sixth-most wins of any NBA coach, 1,175, and made the NBA Finals with the Seattle Supersonics in 1996 – one of six stops during his 27 seasons as an NBA coach. Huggins has been the coach at Cincinnati, Kansas State and West Virginia, is one of six Division I coaches to win at least 900 games, and made the Final Four in 1992 and 2010.

Stanley, currently the coach of the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, won a college national championship at Old Dominion in 1985, and later coached at Penn, USC, Stanford and Cal. And Andrews spent 51 years coaching Texas high school girls’ teams, amassing 1416 wins – the most of any high school coach, male or female, of all-time.

The class of 2022 will officially be unveiled on April 2 in New Orleans during the Final Four, and will be enshrined in the Hall on Sept. 10 in Springfield, Mass.

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