Two of the premier passers in NBA history headline the list of eligible candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's Class of 2018.
Jason Kidd and Steve Nash, who rank second and third in career assists, respectively, are among six former NBA players who are first-time candidates. Kidd, who ranks third in NBA history with 107 triple-doubles, was a 10-time All-Star and won a championship with the 2010-11 Dallas Mavericks. Nash, one of 12 players to win two MVP awards, was an eight-time All-Star.
The complete list of 179 eligible candidates was announced Thursday. The other NBA players eligible for the first time are:
• Grant Hill, a seven-time All-Star and co-Rookie of the Year (along with Kidd) in 1994-95 who overcame a career-threatening ankle injury to play 18 seasons;
• Richard "Rip" Hamilton, who co-starred with Billups on the Pistons' last title team and was selected to three All-Star teams.
"I'm humbled and honored to be nominated," Billups told ESPN's The Jump. "... I played really hard my entire career and left it on the floor."
San Antonio Spurs assistant coach Becky Hammon, who starred for the WNBA's San Antonio Stars and New York Liberty, is among the top women's candidates along with fellow WNBA legends Katie Smith, Tina Thompson and Teresa Weatherspoon. Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey, a former Louisiana Tech star, is on the ballot as both a coach and player.
Rollie Massimino, who coached Villanova to the 1985 NCAA title and won more than 800 games in his career, is among the top coaching nominees, along with Lefty Driesell and Bob Huggins. Massimino died in August at age 82.
Finalists will be announced in mid-February, during NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles. The Hall of Fame's Class of 2018 will be unveiled six weeks later, at the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.