Former Bucks star Marques Johnson, coach George Karl named finalists for 2022 basketball hall of fame class

Jim Owczarski
Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
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1977 first-round pick: Marques Johnson from UCLA.  Johnson, fast and flashy, steals the ball and fires a long pass to start a fast break in a 1981 playoff game against Philadelphia at the Arena.

A year after Bob Dandridge was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the Milwaukee Bucks organization may have another entrant as former player Marques Johnson was named a finalist for the fourth straight year Friday night.

Former head coach George Karl advanced to the finalist stage as well.

Former head coaches Larry Costello and Del Harris are among 27 people nominated by the contributor committee. There are no finalists for this category, as they will either be directly elected to the hall of fame or not.

The next step in the selection process is to receive at least 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee, and those results will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in April. The Class of 2022 will be inducted Sept. 9-10 in Springfield, Mass.

Johnson, 66, was the No. 3 pick in the 1977 NBA draft by the Bucks after helping UCLA win a national title and claiming the national player of the year and first team All-American honors.

With Milwaukee from 1977-84, Johnson was an all-rookie team member, three-time all-NBA player and four-time all-star while averaging 21 points and 7.5 rebounds per game. He earned his final all-star berth and comeback player of the year honors in Los Angeles with the Clippers in 1985-86. He finished in the top 10 in MVP voting twice.

Johnson is also a member of the College Basketball Hall of Fame.

Karl, 70, coached the Bucks from 1998-2003 and compiled a regular season record of 205-173 and a playoff mark of 14-18 and guided the team to the 2001 Eastern Conference finals.

George Karl coached the Bucks from 1998-2003 and led the team to the 2001 Eastern Conference finals.

He also served as head coach in Cleveland, Golden State, Seattle, Denver and Sacramento in winning 1,175 career games – No. 6 all-time. Only 10 coaches have reached 1,000 wins. He was the 2012-13 coach of the year while leading the Nuggets and coached the SuperSonics to the 1996 NBA Finals.

Costello is being considered for the Hall of Fame as a contributor, as he was a one-time all-NBA selection, a six-time all-star and 1967 champion player with Philadelphia from 1954-68. He then was the first head coach of the Bucks and also coached on season in Chicago. Costello is still No. 43 all-time in wins with 430 and his .589 career winning percentage is No. 33.

His candidacy picked up steam last year as the Bucks won their first NBA title since Costello directed the organization to a championship in 1971 and a finals berth in 1974. Costello also coached the Milwaukee Does for a season. 

Harris, 84, was a consultant for former Bucks head coach Don Nelson before becoming an assistant in the 1986-87 season. Harris then took over the head job in 1987-88 and coached the Bucks through 17 games of the 1991-92 season. Harris was 191-154 as the head coach of the Bucks. He also coached Houston to the 1981 NBA Finals and was the 1995 coach of the year in leading the Los Angeles Lakers.

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