Feb. 17 -- First he was knighted. Now it looks as though Sir Charles is about to enjoy an even greater honor.
Dominique and Charles both are nominees for the Class of 2006.
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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Announced Finalists For The Class of 2006 on Friday in Houston. Headlining the list of candidates was 11-time All-Star Charles Barkley. With a nickname of "The Round Mound of Rebound" dating back to his Auburn days, the power forward made up for his lack of height in the paint by using his wide frame and excellent leaping skills. Barkley averaged 22.1 points and also 12 rebounds per game during his 16-year NBA career, and earned All-NBA First Team honors five times.
Barkley, covering All-Star Weekend for TNT, spoke following the announcement, and was relatively humble compared to his usual self-crediting self.
"A lot of people have helped me get to this point in my life," Barkley said. "Hopefully it will go well from here."
Barkley thanked many, but he particularly singled out former Philadelphia 76ers teammate Moses Malone.
"Moses probably was the most influential person in my NBA career," Barkley said. "He taught me how to work hard. Got me in some shape. I always appreciated that."
Adrian Dantley, Joe Dumars, Ralph Sampson, Chet Walker and Dominique Wilkins were also among the list of nominees for the Hall of Fame as players. Don Nelson, Gene Keady, Geno Auriemma and Van Chancellor headlined the nominees for coaches, Dick Vitale named as a nominee for contributors.
One of the most prolific scorers in NBA history, Dantley's 23,117 career points ranks 18th all-time in the NBA. In all but four seasons as a professional, Dantley averaged 20 points or better, including topping the 30-point mark four straight years (1981-84).
Wilkins was known as "The Human Highlight Film" for his incredible dunks and aerial acrobatics. He was a nine-time NBA All-Star from 1986-1994, a two-time NBA Slam Dunk Champion and was named to the All-NBA First Team in 1986. He holds a 24.8 point per game career scoring average, and poured in 30-plus points per game twice (1985-86 & 1987-88).
Dumars, currently the president of basketball operations for the Detroit Pistons, played his entire professional career in Motown, and was a key component of the squad that went on to win back-to-back NBA championships (1989 & 1990). Dumars earned himself a reputation as a cagy defensive stopper, and garnered four appearances on the NBA All-Defensive First Team and six trips to the NBA All-Star Game. As an executive, he is credited with constructing a roster that brought the Pistons the 2004 NBA Championship.
The 7-4 Sampson was a three-time National College Player of the Year winner, three-time Naismith Award winner and two-time Wooden Award recipient at a collegian at University of Virginia. The No. 1 overall pick in the 1983 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, Sampson was selected to three NBA All-Star Games, winning All-Star Game MVP in 1985. He won Rookie of the Year in 1984 and averaged 15.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game in his nine-year professional career.
Nelson has the second most wins in NBA history.
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Walker averaged 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game during his NBA career, compiling seven All-Star Game appearances. He missed only 21 games in his 13 seasons, and when he retired in 1975, was only eighth player in NBA history to play in more than 1,000 games.
Nelson is owner of over 40 years of NBA experience as a player, coach and general manager. He is a three-time NBA Coach of the Year winner, and is the second-winningest coach in NBA history with 1,190 victories. Nelson coached the Milwaukee Bucks to seven consecutive division titles (1979-86), and recorded seven straight 50-plus win years. He is one of only two coaches in NBA history to record 250 victories with three different teams. As a player, he won five NBA Championships with the Boston Celtics and has his No. 19 jersey retired by the Celtics.
Keady coached Purdue University to 21 postseason appearances in 23 seasons and was a National Coach of the Year selection four times in his career. He is currently an assistant coach for the Toronto Raptors. Vitale has been the lead color commentator for ESPN for more than 20 years and is a former coach of the Detroit Pistons.
Auriemma has led University of Connect to five Women's NCAA National Championships and has been named National Coach of the Year five times. Chancellor won four straight WNBA Championships (1997-2000) with the Houston Comets in the WNBA.
Other nominations included coaches Pedro Ferrandiz and Sandra Gamba and contributors David Gavitt, John Isaacs and Ben Kerner. The Class of 2006 will be announced Monday, April 3 prior to the NCAA Men's Championship game in Indianapolis, Ind. Enshrinement takes place in Springfield, Mass. From Sept. 7-9.