It’s just the first step — and getting past the first step can lead to controversy.
The list of nominees for the 2012 class of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame have been announced. It’s an impressive group of people from all across the hoops spectrum (remember, the Hall of Fame is the entire sport, not just the NBA).
Reggie Miller is back and on the list. One of the greatest sharpshooters the game has ever seen and until Ray Allen passed him last season the NBA’s all-time leader in three pointers made is back. He was on this first list last season but didn’t make it to the list of finalists — which was a mistake. Go ahead and argue that Miller is not a first ballot guy or maybe that he is on the HOF bubble and just misses the cut if you want (I disagree, but there’s an argument there). However, there is no argument that he belongs in the final group, a cut he didn’t make last year.
Also on the first cut this year, is Bulls executive Jerry Kraus, who would have Phil Jackson’s vote to get in even if the two barely speak. Don Nelson, the NBA’s all-time winningest coach is on the list, as is Vlade Divac, the Yugoslavian center who was one of the first big European imports to the NBA.
The rest of the list from North American list are:
Al Attles, John Bach, Dick Bavetta, Maurice Cheeks, Lefty Driesell, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Curt Gowdy (broadcaster), Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, former Tom Jernstedt (contributor), Mark Jackson, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Billy Packer (contributor), Rick Pitino, Paul Silas, George Raveling, Mitch Richmond, Ralph Sampson, Eddie Sutton, Rudy Tomjanovich, Gene Shue, Jim Valvano, Donnie Walsh (most recently the Knicks GM), Gary Williams, Paul Westphal (as a player), Jamaal Wilkes.
Plenty of worthy people on that list, which will be trimmed down to a list of finalists, then from that list the class will be chosen.
But if I were picking three it would be Miller (and I want Spike Lee to introduce him), Krause and Nelson. Not that I get to pick. In fact, this is the Hall of Fame, so don’t bet on logic.