Manu Ginobili, Tim Hardaway, Michael Cooper headline Hall of Fame finalists

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CLEVELAND — Manu Ginobili — the player Kobe Bryant said was one of the most challenging players for him to go against — was part of the core of four Spurs title teams (plus won Olympic gold with Argentina. He should be a lock. Tim Hardaway is the lone member of the Warriors’ TMC crew not in the Hall of Fame, and it’s time. Michael Cooper was the 3&D specialist of the Showtime Lakers before there really were 3&D players.

Those three and WNBA legend Swin Cash headline the 11 finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2022. The finalists were announced at an event Friday night during NBA All-Star Weekend. The formal class will be announced on April 2 in New Orleans at the NCAA Final Four.

The 11 finalists are:

• MANU GINOBILI. Four-time NBA champion, Sixth Man of the Year (2008), a two-time All-NBA player and two-time All-Star. He also led Argentina to its only basketball gold medal at the 2004 Olympics and the bronze at the 2008 games. He is only the second player ever (Bill Bradley) to have won a EuroLeague title (2001), an NBA championship and Olympic gold.

• TIM HARDAWAY. A legendary member of Run TMC in Golden State, he was a five-time All-NBA player and five-time All-Star who still ranks 18th in NBA history with 7,095 career assists. He also won Olympic gold in 2000 as part of Team USA.

• MICHAEL COOPER. A five-time NBA champion as a critical defensive cog of the Showtime Los Angeles Lakers. He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year in 1987 and was named All-Defensive First Team five times.

• MARQUES JOHNSON. The Milwaukee Bucks legend is a five-time NBA All-Star and a three-time All-NBA player. Johnson was also named the NBA Comeback Player of the Year in 1986. In 11 NBA seasons, he averaged 20.1 points and 7.0 rebounds per game. He won an NCAA national championship with John Wooden in 1975 and, a couple of years later was the consensus National Collegiate Player of the Year.

• HUGH EVANS. An NBA referee for 28 consecutive years (1973-2001), including working 35 NBA Finals games. For a couple of years he worked as the NBA Assistant Supervisor of Officials (2001-03).

• GEORGE KARL. Karl was an NBA head coach for 27 seasons as a head coach in the NBA, leading five different franchises to the playoffs and the Supersonics to the NBA Finals (1996). He had 12 50+ win seasons as a coach and still ranks sixth in total wins by a coach.

• BOB HUGGINS. A college coach for 45 years, he has led his teams to 25 NCAA Tournament berths, including four trips to the Elite Eight and two appearances in the NCAA Final Four.

• SWIN CASH. One of the WNBA’s legendary players, she won three WNBA championships in her 15-year career. She is a four-time WNBA All-Star and two-time Olympic gold medalist, plus won two NCAA National Championships at the University of Connecticut. She was named one of the 20 best WNBA players of all time in 2016.

• LINDSAY WHALEN. A three-time WNBA champion, a five-time WNBA All-Star and she won two Olympic gold medals. She was named to the WNBA First Team three times and was recognized as one of the 20 best WNBA players of all time in 2016.

• LETA ANDREWS. She has coached in the high school ranks across Texas for 51 years and posted a lifetime 1,416-351 (.801) record, making her the winningest high school coach of all time, male or female. She guided her teams to 16 state Final Four appearances.

• MARIANNE STANLEY. She has coached in college and the WNBA for a combined 45 years. She won an NCAA National Championship in 1985 at Old Dominion and had three Final Four appearances.

• In addition, Basketball Hall-of-Famer and New York Knicks television analyst Walt Frazier, women’s college and professional basketball writer Mechelle Voepel and NBC Network Executive Dick Ebersol are the 2022 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.