Former Seattle SuperSonics Gary Payton and Spencer Haywood were named finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Friday. The inductees will be announced April 8.
While they played for other teams in their careers as well, both men said Friday they would wear their Sonics jerseys if inducted. Payton was No. 20 and Haywood was No. 24.
This is the first time that Payton has been named a finalist. The Glove played 12 full seasons with the Sonics before being traded to Milwaukee in 2003.
The point guard was a nine-time All-Star and nine-time All-Defensive NBA First Team selection. He won gold medals on the 1996 and 2000 U.S. Olympic teams and helped lead the Sonics to the 1996 Western Conference Championship.
After finishing out the 2002-2003 season with the Bucks, Payton played with the Lakers and Celtics before ending his career in Miami. He won an NBA championship as a member of the 2006 Heat team.
Payton still holds career records for points, assists and steals at Oregon State University.
Haywood has been named a finalist before. The four-time All-Star spent five of his twelve seasons with the Sonics between 1970 and 1975 before playing for the Knicks, Jazz, Lakers and Bullets. He averaged 20 points per game six times and won an NBA championship with the Lakers in 1980. He also won an Olympic gold medal in 1968.
Did you know?
Gary Payton almost was a Golden State Warrior instead of a Sonic. Golden State traded the 16th pick in the 1989 NBA draft to Seattle for the Sonics first round pick the next season. The Sonics drafted Dana Barros. But two months later, the Sonics got that first round pick back when they traded away Alton Lister to the Warriors. The Sonics would use that pick to draft Payton.