UPDATE: Spencer Haywood, however, is telling reporters that he has not been told that he has been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame. The official announcement for this year's hall of fame class comes Monday.
Spencer Haywood will join Gary Payton, Bernard King and others in the 2013 class of the Basketball Hall of Fame, according to FOX Sports' Chris Tomasson. Haywood, who played 12 years in the NBA and one in the ABA, is one of the key figures in NBA history after he won a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision over the NBA in 1971, paving the way for basketball players to enter the NBA after high school or leave college early.
Haywood's playing career was also of note, making two All-NBA first teams, two All-NBA second teams and four All-Star games. He averaged 19.2 points in his 12 NBA seasons and 30 points in his lone NBA season after coming out of the University of Detroit after his sophomore year.
He would undoubtedly be higher on many statistical leaderboards had it not been for his issues with cocaine in the second half of his career. He was famously dismissed from the 1980s Lakers during the NBA Finals for falling asleep in practice, presumably as a result of his drug use. After averaging at least 20 points and nine rebounds per game in his first four NBA seasons, all for the Sonics, when Haywood was traded to the New York Knicks before the 1975 season, his production immediately sagged. By the time he was 28, he averaged 13.7 points and 6.6 rebounds a game for the Knicks in 26.3 minutes per game.
Haywood was far from the only NBA player to use cocaine and have his career ultimately suffer because of it. His impact on the game, however, for challenging the NBA's four years out of high school eligibility rule, along with Sonics owner Sam Schulman, had a direct impact on the careers of Moses Malone,Johnson and Michael Jordan in the coming years, and countless players in the 1980s and '90s.