UPDATE 7:00PM EST: The Boston Globe is reporting that Dennis Johnson, who should have been inducted years ago, is also among the class. (via FanHouse)
The Newark Star Ledger is reporting that Bobby Hurley Sr., Scottie Pippen, and Karl Malone will be announced as inductees to the Basketball Hall of Fame Monday during the NCAA Championship game.
Hurley, as only the third high school coach to be enshrined in the Hall, is quite a story, but as this is an NBA blog, let’s turn our attention to the other two.
It’s only fitting that Pippen enter the Hall a year after Jordan, having been known as Jordan’s number two for his entire career (and the results without MJ were less than memorable). Pippen’s place in history may be as the sidekick, but his performance was vital to the Bulls’ three championships. He was a top five defender for much of his career, and versatile in a way that Jordan himself never was. Since retiring, though, Pippen has made his fair share of interesting and questionable comments. His induction speech may have the same flavor as Jordan’s debacle.
Malone? Zero championships. That’s the mark many people will remember outside of Utah. But Malone was thought by many to go down as the greatest power forward of all time. Of course, then Tim Duncan showed up, and the 50% of the people that think Duncan is a power forward obviously bump Malone right on down. But Malone is unquestionably Hall-worthy. He was a brutalizer in the block, great from range, and if John Stockton is in, then it only makes sense that his pick and roll partner is in.
With Jordan, Pippen, Malone, and Stockton in the hall, alongside previous 2008 inductee Hakeem Olajuwon, the mid-90’s will be well represented in the Hall of Fame. Getcha flannel and Pearl Jam records ready!
Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.
The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.
The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.
Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.
Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.
Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.
“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”
The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.
Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.
LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.
Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?
Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.
LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.
To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.
It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.
With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.
There were a couple of good ones, however.
Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.
One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.