Kevin Johnson, other Suns among 2013 Hall of Fame nominees

Kevin Johnson is among several former Phoenix Suns players and coaches nominated to enter the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame with the 2013 class. On Monday,’s Scott Howard-Cooper released the list of players, coaches and contributors who are candidates for the Hall of Fame.

A Suns ring of honor member, Johnson is joined by former Suns coaches Paul Westphal and Cotton Fitzsimmons along with former player Paul Silas. Johnson is the second in Phoenix history in assists behind Steve Nash and spent nearly his entire career with the Suns after being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Fitzsimmons had three stints as the Suns’ head coach (1970-72, 1988-92, 1996) before turning to the broadcast table. He was the NBA Coach of the Year twice.

Westphal is another ring of honor member after playing and then coaching Phoenix to its two NBA Finals appearances.

Silas played for Phoenix from 1969-1972.

Thirty-one candidates were chosen by the North American committee, and the list will be whittled down to a group of finalists after a nine-member panel reviews each individual. Players will need seven points to become finalists, at which point they will be reviewed by a separate 24-member committee — players must earn support from 18 of the 24 members to be inducted to the Hall of Fame.

Other notable names nominated for the class of 2013 included players Gary Payton, Vlade Divac, Mitch Richmond and Tim Hardaway.

Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, former NBA deputy commissioner Russ Granik and referee Dick Bavetta are candidates for the contributor section that could be inducted.

  • john

    KJ is my favorite Suns player of all time, but he’s going to have a tough time getting into the hall. I’m totally clueless about the basketball hall of fame, so forgive me if this sounds crazy, but does the basketball HOF have a limit to the number of people who can be inducted on an annual basis?

    If there is a limit to the number of inductees, I don’t think Johnson has a real shot at getting in. If there is no limit, I think he deserves it. His numbers were limited due to his injury-plagued career. If he had been able to accumulate 30k+ minutes, his numbers would have propelled him into the top-50 players of all time consideration (as of right now, he’s borderline top 100 by the numbers).

    No matter what, he was a beast. Chris Paul is Kevin Johnson 2.0.

    • Ben Shockley

      Yeah, actually in ’08-’09, Chris Paul became just the second player in NBA history to average at least 20.0 points, 10.0 assists, a .500 field goal percentage, and 2.0 steals in the same season. The first was Kevin Johnson in ’90-’91, and the only other player to average at least 20.0/10.0/.500 in a season was Magic Johnson.

  • Scott

    I don’t think KJ will get into the Hall on his first try, but he’s got a decent shot to get there. Gary Payton would likely be picked over KJ.

    Totally unrelated to the above article, but anyone else noticing that the Lakers are not doing so well?

    The Lakers might end up with a late lottery pick, and if so, I believe it goes to the Suns.

    From RealGM:

    2013 first round draft pick from L.A. Lakers
    The L.A. Lakers will send the least favorable of their own 1st round pick (top-14 protected), Cleveland’s own 2013 1st round pick, Sacramento’s own 1st round pick (top-13 protected) and Miami’s 2013 1st round pick to Phoenix. If the L.A. Lakers’ 1st round pick is within the top-14 selections, Phoenix will automatically receive the L.A. Lakers’ 1st round pick. [L.A. Lakers-Phoenix, 7/11/2012]

  • Scott

    (Oh, I see this isn’t the first time KJ has been on the ballot for HoF.)

  • azbballfan

    Go Kevin Johnson!

    I hope he gets in!

    I heard D-12 and Gasol are out a while

    its gonna be hard for a team bankrupt of depth to win games when they couldnt do that when everyone was on the court

  • hawki

    If KJ doesn’t get in the HOF, they should at least put in a video of his crossover move.
    In KJ’s prime, NO ONE could stop him from getting to the rim if he wanted to.

  • john


    Not even Hakeem Olajuwon.

    That dunk is one of the top 5 in-game dunks of all time, in my opinion.

    KJ was an absolute beast. It’s too bad he had so many injuries, and he also played in what was probably the best PG era the NBA has ever seen.

  • JoeT

    Love KJ! Miss those Suns we had back in the day!

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