Former Miner, NBA star Tim Hardaway leads list of Hall of Fame finalists

POSTED: 02:58 PM MST Feb 15, 2013    UPDATED: 01:00 PM MST Feb 22, 2013 

Tim Hardaway, Gary Payton and Mitch Richmond are among 12 finalists for election into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

The announcement of the finalists kicked off All-Star Weekend in Houston.

Hardaway played for several teams in the NBA during his 13-year-career, most notably the Miami Heat and Golden State Warriors.

He ranks 13th in both career assists (7,095) and 3-point field goals (1,542). He and Richmond were teammates along with Chris Mullin in Golden State, a high-scoring trio that became known as Run TMC. It was quickly broken up when Richmond was traded to Sacramento in 1992.
    
"I played with Mitch for three seasons, and our families became close-knit and keep in touch," Hardaway told the Associated Press on Friday. "One part of Run TMC is in there (Mullin), and it'd be great to get myself and Mitch in there. We played hard, we sacrificed a lot and we had fun together."

If elected to the Hall of Fame, Hardaway would join the late Don Haskins and the 1966 Texas Western College team and Nate Archibald as the only Miners inducted.

Hardaway had a career average of 17.7 points and 8.2 assists per game. He made his only All-NBA First Team in 1997 with Miami.

His number was retired by the Heat in 2010 and UTEP in January 2012. He led the Miners to four straight NCAA tournament bids in the late '80s.

Hardaway was criticized nationally in 2007 after he made an anti-gay rant on a Miami radio show.

In Aug. 2011, Hardaway was a completely different person and was in El Paso to show support for the "No Recall" group that was formed to try and provoke a change of heart for those who oppose health benefits for gay and unmarried partners of City employees.

"It's not right to not let the gays and lesbians have equal rights here," Hardaway said in El Paso in 2011 when he pledged his support to the "No Recall" group.

Hardaway has been working with gay rights groups in Miami since 2007.

"If I know El Paso, like they came together when the 1966 team won a championship and Don Haskins started those five guys, I know the city will grow and understand that gays and lesbians need equal rights," Hardaway said.

Hardaway told ABC-7 in 2011 his "change of heart" came from those closest to him.

"My family and friends came to me and was like, 'what are you doing?' I talked to them and they made me understand that wasn't right," he said. "

While some people still think the anti-gay rant is his legacy, Hardaway doesn't.

"But you know what, everybody thinks that's my legacy. that's not my legacy, my legacy is the utep 2-step."

Other Hardaway career highlights:

Former Houston Cougars coach Guy Lewis has been chosen as a finalist for the first time since 2003. Current Louisville coach Rick Pitino and former UNLV coach Jerry Tarkanian also are finalists for the 2013 class.

The others includes former NBA stars Maurice Cheeks, Spencer Haywood and Bernard King, longtime North Carolina women's coach Sylvia Hatchell and five-time WNBA All-Star Dawn Staley. Boston Celtics great Tom Heinsohn, already inducted as a player, is a finalist in the coaching category.

The 2013 class will be announced at the Final Four in April.