DALLAS — As expected, Utah Jazz legend Karl Malone and the 1992 Dream Team were both named as finalists for the 2010 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The official announcement came this morning in conjunction with the 2010 NBA All-Star festivities — fitting timing if you consider Malone was a 14-time All-Star during his career with the Jazz.
Current Hall of Famers have no doubt Malone will be enshrined with the Class of 2010 at ceremonies scheduled for Aug. 13 in Springfield, Mass.
"If he's not a shoe-in," Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins said, "I don't know who is."
Hall enshrinement ceremonies were moved up to the weekend of Aug. 12-14 because of a conflict with the 2010 FIBA World Championships, scheduled for September in Turkey.
Other notable 19 finalists include Scottie Pippen and Chris Mullin, both original Dream Teamers, Dennis Johnson, Bernard King, Jamal Wilkes, Don Nelson, Tex Winter, Lakers owner Jerry Buss and the 1960 U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.
Malone was also named a two-time NBA MVP in 1997 and '99, and ended up as the second-leading scorer in league history with 36,928 points. The Mailman was a first-team All-NBA player every year between 1989-99.
Malone also won two Olympic gold medals with the U.S. men's national basketball team in 1992 and '96 — alongside fellow Jazz teammate John Stockton, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last fall with Jazz coach Jerry Sloan.
The Class of 2010 will be announced during Final Four Weekend in Indianapolis on April 5.
Finalists must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee to earn a spot in the Hall of Fame. The 2010 Enshrinement and Induction Celebration will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Friday, Aug. 13.
Eight players from the Dream Team have already been enshrined into the Hall of Fame, including Stockton, Michael Jordan, Charles Barkley, Larry Bird, Clyde Drexler, Patrick Ewing, Magic Johnson and David Robinson. Hall of Fame coaches Mike Krzyzewski and Lenny Wilkens assisted head coach Chuck Daly while college standout Christian Laettner of Duke University completed the roster. The Dream Team was inducted into the USA Olympic Hall of Fame in 2009.
Contributing: Jody Genessy