Payton, Haywood finalists for Basketball Hall of Fame
Former Sonics stars Gary Payton and Spencer Haywood were named two of 12 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Those elected will be announced April 8.
Seattle Times staff reporter
HOUSTON — While the specter of the NBA returning to Seattle hovers over All-Star weekend, Friday also saw honors for two legendary former members of the SuperSonics — Gary Payton and Spencer Haywood.
Each was named as one of 12 finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2013. Those elected will be announced April 8.
Payton, who played 13 of his 18 NBA seasons with the Sonics, attended the announcement and said making the Hall of Fame "would mean a lot. A guy coming from Oakland, California, I never dreamed of this. The things I did in the NBA, I never dreamed of that."
Payton also told reporters he talks often to Chris Hansen, who is leading the effort to return an NBA team to Seattle, and would like to have a role with the franchise if it were to return, though not as a coach.
"He has done a great job of making this happen," Payton said, adding that Hansen has given Seattle "a great opportunity" to get another team and "all we have to do is hope."
Haywood was one of Seattle's first stars, making the All-NBA team twice while playing for the Sonics from 1970 to 1975. He played 14 years overall.
Another with local ties was also honored — former Washington State coach George Raveling, who was awarded the 2013 John Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Raveling was the first African-American head coach in the Pac-12 (then the Pac-8) when he was named coach at WSU in 1972. He led the Cougars to two NCAA tournament appearances before leaving for Iowa in 1983.
"The game has been good to me," said Raveling, who also was head coach at USC and today is the director of international basketball for Nike. "People ask me all the time, 'How are you doing?' I say I've already forfeited the right to be disappointed by anything. I've gotten further in life than I ever thought I would ever get, and I owe a great deal of it to the game of basketball."
Thomas, Thompson in Rising Stars game
Former Washington standout and Tacoma native Isaiah Thomas and former Washington State star Klay Thompson each got their first All-Star experience Friday in the Rising Stars Challenge.
Thomas got the upper hand with 18 points as Team Chuck (named for Charles Barkley) beat Thompson and Team Shaq (Shaquille O'Neal) 163-135. Thompson had 11 points..
The game features first- and second-year NBA players.
Thomas, now with the Sacramento Kings, had 14 points and seven assists in the first half as his team broke out to a 90-66 lead.
Thompson said the game is more meaningful in what it represents for those selected..
"It means we've got a future in this league," he said. "It was a lot of fun. ... It's mostly just a show for fans, obviously, when you see teams score in the 160s and the 130s."
Thomas is one of four former Huskies taking part in various events here. Terrence Ross of the Toronto Raptors will participate in the dunk contest Saturday and Justin Holiday of the Idaho Stampede and Justin Dentmon of the Texas Legends in the NBA Developmental League will take part in the D-League three-point shooting contest.
Thomas said he has some simple advice for Ross: "Jump very high. I know he has some stuff up his sleeve. We'll see what he has."
Council to hear
The Seattle City Council will get a briefing from the staff of mayor Mike McGinn on Feb. 25, updating the progress of improvements that would be needed for KeyArena to host an NBA team next season, as well as a few issues related to the proposed Sodo arena.
Hansen has pledged roughly $15 million for updates that would be needed for KeyArena to host an NBA team for two seasons while the Sodo arena is constructed.
Bob Condotta: 206-515-5699 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
On Twitter @bcondotta