SPRINGFIELD, Mass. -- James Worthy and Robert Parish squared off in the classic Lakers-Celtics NBA Finals of the 1980s. Now they could enter the Basketball Hall of Fame side by side.
Worthy and Parish were among 21 finalists announced Monday, the largest group ever by the North American screening committee, which considers the men's college and pro game. At least 18 votes from the 24-member honors committee are needed to be a finalist.
This September's inductees will be announced April 7 during the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans.
Worthy, one of the game's great fast-break finishers, led North Carolina to the NCAA title in 1982 and helped boost Los Angeles to three NBA championships (1985, 1987, 1988). He is one of seven Lakers to have his number retired.
Parish holds the NBA record for most seasons (21) and most games (1,611) and helped lead Boston to NBA titles in 1981, 1984 and 1986. He holds the NBA record for defensive rebounds (10,117) and scored 23,334 points during a career that included stints with Golden State, Charlotte and Chicago as well as the Celtics.
Parish's Celtics and Worthy's Lakers met in the NBA Finals in 1984, 1985 and 1987.
Also proposed as players wre the late Gus Johnson, a crashing rebounder for the Baltimore Bullets, who averaged 17.1 points and 12.7 rebounds; Philadelphia 76rs guard Maurice Cheeks; Celtics defensive specialist Dennis Johnson; scoring star Adrian Dantley; North Carolina defensive ace Bobby Jones; seven-time All-Star Chet Walker; and Phoenix scoring star Walter Davis.