Former Hawk Mutombo named Hall of Fame finalist

The signature finger wag could be headed to the Hall of Fame.

Former Hawks player Dikembe Mutombo was named a finalist for enshrinement in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.

Mutombo, an eight-time All-Star and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, played four-plus seasons with the Hawks from 1996-2001. He appeared in 343 games, all starts, and averaged 11.9 points and 12.6 rebounds with Atlanta. In his 18-year career, Mutombo also played for Nuggets, 76ers, Nets, Knicks and Rockets. He finished with 11,729 points, 12,359 rebounds and 3,289 blocks He led the NBA in blocks five straight seasons from 1994-98.

Mutombo called being a finalist for the Hall of Fame a “dream come true.”

Mutombo has been associated with one of the groups to have expressed interest in buying the Hawks and Philips Arena.

In addition to Mutombo, players Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Kevin Johnson, and Jo Jo White, coaches John Calipari, Bill Fitch, Robert Hughes and Bo Ryan and referee Dick Bavetta were named finalist for the Men’s Screening Committee. Coach Leta Andrews and player Lisa Leslie were named finalists for the Women’s Screening Committee.

There were also five direct elects named by the Hall of Fame as initial members of the Class of 2015. They were Louie Dampier voted in from the American Basketball Association Committee, John Isaacs from the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Lindsay Gaze from the International Committee, Tom Heinsohn from the Veterans Committee and George Raveling from the Contributor Direct Election Committee.

The Class of 2015 will be announced on April 6 in Indianapolis prior to the NCAA Men’s Championship game. The enshrinement in Springfield, Mass. will be Sept. 10-11.