LAS VEGAS Six-time NBA All-Star Adrian Dantley, whose jersey number will be retired by the Jazz later this season, was named for a fifth time as a finalist for election into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
Dantley, who averaged 29.6 points per game for the Jazz from 1979-86, was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1977 and NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1984.
He is joined by 14 other finalists, including current Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, who guided the Lakers and the Chicago Bulls and to a combined nine NBA titles; Golden State Warriors basketball operations boss Chris Mullin, who played for the United States' 1992 Olympic Dream Team, was a five-time NBA All-Star and won the 1985 Wooden Award at St. John's; ESPN sportscaster Dick Vitale; Detroit Pistons owner William Davidson; legendary St. Anthony's (N.J.) High School coach Bob Hurley Sr.; longtime college coaches Eddie Sutton and Roy Williams; and the 1966 NCAA-champion Texas Western team that inspired the movie "Glory Road."
Other finalists: longtime NBA referee Mendy Rudolph, Yugoslavian coach Mirko Novosel, Spanish coach Pedro Ferrandiz, former U.S. women's coaches Van Chancellor and Harley Redin and, from the veteran's screening committee, six-time NBA All-Star Richard Guerin.
Jackson's Michael Jordan-led Bulls beat the Jazz in both the 1997 and '98 NBA Finals.
Dantley's No. 4 will be raised to the rafters of EnergySolutions Arena on April 11, when the Denver Nuggets for whom he is now an assistant coach visit the Jazz. His eventual selection into the hall was called for by several of the Hall-of-Famers on hand for Friday's announcement, including Dominique Wilkins, Bill Walton and Earl Monroe.
"He's one of the greatest players to ever play," Wilkins said.
A 24-person committee will consider the finalists, with 18 votes needed for enshrinement. The Class of 2007 will be revealed April 2 at the NCAA Final Four in Atlanta and inducted Sept. 7 at the Hall in Springfield, Mass.
Former Jazz stars John Stockton and Karl Malone who retired in 2003 and 2004, respectively have not yet been out of the game the requisite five years for enshrinement consideration from the Hall's North American player screening committee.
PIPPEN TO RETURN?: Scottie Pippen is tired of retirement. He wants to return to the NBA for a chance to win his seventh championship ring.
With most of the league's stars and decision-makers gathering at the All-Star weekend festivities in Las Vegas, the 41-year-old Pippen announced he's hoping for a late-season return to a contending team preferably in a warm-weather city nearly 2 1/2 years after he left the league.
"I know that I have the skills," Pippen said. "I think it's sort of been on my mind the last couple of months. It's just about me going out and polishing my skills."
The forward hasn't played since his retirement on Oct. 5, 2004, following a 17-season career with Chicago, Houston and Portland. He won six titles in his famed role as Michael Jordan's wingman with the Bulls, and was part of two gold medal-winning U.S. Olympic teams.Pippen has been working out in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., during the winter, and he believes the time is right to add his experience and defensive prowess to a contending club, perhaps in Miami or San Antonio.
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