SPRINGFIELD, MASS., FEB. 7 -- Indiana Coach Bob Knight and late NBA commissioner Larry O'Brien were among six men elected today to the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Also elected were guard Nate "Tiny" Archibald, centers Dave Cowens and Harry Gallatin and the late Larry Fleisher, who founded the NBA Players Association. The group will be inducted in May. A seventh member will be chosen by a new committee formed to recognize international basketball.

After he failed to win election in his first try in 1988, Knight reportedly called it a "slap in the face" and asked not to be considered for renomination.

Today Knight changed his tune.

"When a coach is honored, it's an honor for all the players that played for him and is a recognition of the teams he has had over the years," Knight said. "I've been fortunate to have had a lot of great kids and players at West Point {Army} and Indiana. It means a lot to me to see them all share in this kind of recognition.

"A player enters the Hall of Fame on his ability, a coach enters on the ability of his players."

Knight has had only one losing season in 26 years and is one of only three coaches to win Olympic, NCAA and National Invitation Tournament championships.

A spokeswoman for the O'Brien family said the family is "pleased that he has been accorded this much-deserved recognition by the institution of basketball." Before his death Sept. 27, 1990, O'Brien had tried unsuccessfully to change the procedure during two years as Hall of Fame president. He had asked that his name be withdrawn in protest of the shrine's refusal to make public the votes and names of the Honors Committee.

"His enshrinement will be a continuous reminder of his innumerable contributions to the sport," said spokeswoman Jan Akerhielm, recalling that on many occasions O'Brien had called election to the Hall of Fame a "high honor."

Last year, Hall of Fame President Bob Kurland said the trustees decided against allowing nominees to back out.

Cowens, who spent most of his career with the Boston Celtics, was pleased to be going in with Archibald. Both began playing in the NBA in 1970. Cowens and Archibald, who played most of his career with the Kansas City Kings, played briefly together with the Celtics.

"I'm real pleased for him. Nate's a good man and a basketball guy through and through," said Cowens, who averaged 17.6 points and 13.6 rebounds in 11 seasons. "He's helped so many children through basketball.

"I am just very honored. I always considered myself a team player. I was never an outstanding scorer. Rebounding, defense and team play -- covering the court and doing the little things -- were my strengths."

Archibald led the NBA in both scoring (34 points a game) and assists (11.4) in 1972-73. He played in six all-star games, winning most valuable player honors in 1981.

Gallatin starred for the New York Knicks in the 1940s and '50s and was elected by the Oldtimers' Committee. He averaged 13 points in 682 regular season games and led the NBA in rebounding in 1954, averaging more than 15 a game.

O'Brien, Democratic National Committee chairman in the 1960s, was NBA commissioner from 1975 to 1984. During his tenure, the league expanded to 23 teams, gained national television exposure and began a landmark anti-drug program.

Fleisher, honored as a contributor, served as NBA Players Association attorney for more than 25 years and was an agent for dozens of NBA players.