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Miller, Nelson top 2012 Hall of Fame finalists


Posted Feb 24 2012 12:47PM - Updated Feb 24 2012 2:14PM

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) -- Reggie Miller has a chance to nail his legacy, just as he did so many 3-point shots.

The Indiana Pacers great with the smoothest of strokes was announced Friday as a first-time finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is one of 12 finalists for the class of 2012.

"When you're in the backyard and you're trying to play the 3-2-1 game, and you're trying to be the Iceman (George Gervin) and do the figure roll. ... Now to be on the same stage with these guys. It's just a great honor," Miller said.

Miller, a five-time All-Star, was joined as a first-time finalist by five-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain.

On the ballot again are Don Nelson, Maurice Cheeks, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Hank Nichols, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes and the All-American Red Heads, known as the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters and the first women's professional basketball team.

Miller and Cheeks were the only finalists in attendance for Friday's announcement.

"I also played against these guys and it's the highest honor And to be selected would be an honor," Cheeks said. "To get to the NBA was special for me. To have an opportunity to be elected to Hall of Fame would just be an honor."

The 2012 class will be announced April 2 at NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election.

Also honored Friday were five direct elections, who will serve as the initial 2012 inductees: Mel Daniels, voted by the American Basketball Association 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 Committee.

Knight, the Nike co-founder, expressed his thanks by video.

"I was so shaken that my knees almost buckled," he said.

The Curt Gowdy Media Award for print was given to longtime sports writer Sam Smith, with current NBA executive and Orlando Magic founder Pat Williams receiving the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award.

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