(Updated with statement from Guy V. Lewis's family.)
Today at the Hilton Americas just steps away from the Toyota Center, the NBA announced their nominees for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The formal announcement of inductees doesn't come until April 8 at the Final Four festivities in Atlanta.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of finalists includes female player Dawn Staley, coach Sylvia Hatchell, Gary Payton, Maurice Cheeks, Bernard King, coach Tom Heinsohn, Mitch Richmond, coach Rick Pitino, University of Houston luminary Guy V. Lewis, Spencer Haywood, coach Jerry Tarkanian and Tim Hardaway.
Any of those players or coaches who get 75 percent of the voters to pick them will enter the Hall.
There was heavy cheering from the hometown press when Coach Lewis's name was announced.
A cast of current NBA HOFers was also in attendance at the press conference, including Clyde Drexler, Calvin Murphy, Bob Lanier, Earl Monroe and Dominique Wilkins.
Also in attendance was New York Knicks great Dick Barnett, who was being followed by a cameraman for the ceremony. Barnett played in the NBA All-Star Game back in 1968, some 45 years ago, at the old version of New York City's Madison Square Garden, demolished just a year later.
The HOF also announced that Edwin B. Henderson would be inducted as a pioneer of the game. Henderson is known as the "Grandfather of Black Basketball" for bringing the game to black youths in Washington, D.C. in 1904. He passed away in 1977.
Henderson is one of many Direct Elects who are now initial members of the Class of 2013. Roger Brown, Oscar Schmidt, Richard Guerin and Russ Granik were also in that group.
Former Milwaukee Bucks play-by-play man Eddie Doucette won the Curt Gowdy Award for broadcasting. The voice of the Naismith HOF, he told the crowd he "felt as good as Kate Upton looks" in response to accepting the honor.
NBA All-Star Weekend continues in Houston, with the entire downtown area full of players past, present and future, and the partying will not cease until sometime Monday morning.
Lewis is a legend in UH circles, from the Astrodome Elvin Hayes-Lew Alcindor showdown to Phi Slama Jama.
At 91, he's not in the greatest of shape these days, but his daughter Sherry Lewis issued a statement on behalf of the family:
We are happy that Dad has once again been named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball of Fame. Anyone who has spent most of his life around the game of basketball would consider it a crowning achievement to be permanently enshrined in the Basketball Hall of Fame, and Dad is delighted to take this next step in the process. We hope we can celebrate like this one more time in the near future.
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