Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen banner nominees for Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2018
Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, Grant Hill and Chauncey Billups lead the Hall of Fame nominees for the class of 2018. AP

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Two-time NBA MVP Steve Nash, fellow star point guard Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Ray Allen are among six first-year candidates for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Detroit Pistons backcourt of Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton also became eligible after the Hall changed its rules to allow players to reach the ballot after three years of retirement.

The candidates eligible for enshrinement in 2018 were announced Thursday (Friday, Manila time) by the Hall on the anniversary of James Naismith's invention of the game.

Coaches on the ballot for the first time include Steve Fisher, who won a title at Michigan and later coached its Fab Five, and West Virginia's Bob Huggins.

The women's committee nominated former WNBA stars Becky Hammon, now a San Antonio Spurs assistant coach, as well as Tina Thompson and Katie Smith.

Finalists from the North American and women's committees will be announced at NBA All-Star weekend on Feb. 17 in Los Angeles. The entire class will be unveiled during the NCAA Final Four in San Antonio.

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