Longtime Seattle SuperSonics point guard Gary Payton and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf are the most prominent names headlining the 2013 nominees for the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Howard-Cooper's breakdown of the complicated process sums up how long the road is to Springfield:
Thirty-one candidates are moving forward via selection from the North American committee, the section that handles the majority of the nominees from the NBA. The next step after that is judging by a nine-member panel. Seven votes are needed to advance to the finalist stage...Then, a separate group of 24 voters makes the ultimate ruling. Support from 18 of the 24 is required for induction, with the results revealed at the Final Four in Atlanta in April.
Payton was a nine-time All-Star and was named to the NBA's All-Defensive First Team nine consecutive times. His lockdown defense on the perimeter garnered him the nickname "The Glove," but he was also a strong scorer.
Reinsdorf was the architect of the Bulls' dynasty, purchasing the team in 1985 and promptly drafting Scottie Pippen and Horace Grant, eventually rounding out a nucleus that featured John Paxson, Bill Cartwright and, of course, Michael Jordan.
Both of these men should be virtual locks to get into the Hall of Fame despite all the hurdles to clear, but there are some other intriguing names on the ballot that were recent standout players in the league.
Those include former Phoenix Suns star Kevin Johnson and Miami Heat guard Tim Hardaway.
Howard-Cooper noted that Mark Jackson was removed from the ballot, since he didn't receive a vote for three years. Jackson is third on the all-time assists list, and is orchestrating an impressive turnaround as coach of the Golden State Warriors.
Several notable coaches occupy the list of nominees as well, including Bill Fitch, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gary Williams and Rick Pitino, among others.