To give a man hope, then snatch it away, that's true cruelty.

Spencer Haywood was told he was in, told he finally cracked the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame entry 30 years after his last NBA game. The former ABA MVP and NBA All-Star was told wrong.

"This is so embarrassing," Haywood told the Las Vegas Review-Journal. "My stomach has been so bad I can't eat, I can't sleep. This isn't a punch in the stomach. It's below the stomach."

Haywood says "someone from the NBA" told him he had made the cut. His agent leaked the report out, as well, to Fox Sports Florida. That apparently led the Hall to tell him the bad news in advance of Monday's announcement before the college basketball national championship game.

Haywood did not clarify who told him, so blame may be misplaced. The Hall of Fame operates independently of the NBA. Former NBA star Gary Payton and college coaches Rick Pitino and Jerry Tarkanian all will be announced Monday as inductees, possibly along with others.