I’m going to try — to really, really try — not to turn this into a “we need a separate NBA Hall of Fame” rant. Even though we do.
I don’t want to go there because there are some deserving people getting into the Hall of Fame as part of this year’s class. Reggie Miller, for one. Don Nelson is another (but we knew he was in).
So I’m not going to dwell on the fact that Ralph Sampson is going into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame before Bernard King. I’m not. I’m not going to try and dissect the Hall’s voting logic because every year I can’t find it. No. I ‘m just going to try and let it go.
The Hall of Fame announced its class Monday, and there are a couple no brainers at the top of the list.
Reggie Miller deserves it as one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen. (Even if he might be the second best player in his family.) Miller led the NBA in three point field goals made in a career, was a five-time All-Star and is maybe the most iconic Pacer of All time. Not to pick on the Hall too much, but how is it he wasn’t even a finalist last year and this year he is in? I miss the logic so often with the Hall decisions.
Is it too much to ask to have Spike Lee do Miller’s Hall of Fame introduction? That would win me back over to the Hall’s side fast.
Don Nelson also deserved to be in as the winnestest coach in NBA history and a great innovator of the game. That was a given.
But now we get into why I think there should be an NBA hall — Ralph Sampson is a member of this year’s class. Sampson was one of the most dominant college players of all time (three time Naismith Award winner) and he was a three time NBA All-Star. But his hall status is based on those college years.
Jamaal Wilkes is another guy who gets in for a college and NBA career combined — he was a force for John Wooden at UCLA and then went on to win four NBA titles and made three NBA All-Star games as a member of the Showtime Lakers. His NBA credentials for the Hall are borderline — and this coming from a big fan of his — but once you add in college he gets the nod.
Still the sweetest corner jumper ever, even if you would never let your kid shoot with that form.
Here are the other inductees:
• Chet Walker, the seven-time All-Star swingman of the Sixers (where he won a ring) and Bulls. This is a good call, look at his similarity numbers and you get Kevin McHale then Rick Barry. Good company.
• Mel Daniels, the two-time MVP of the ABA who was a seven-time All-Star and won three rings in that league. All of those chips came with the Pacers — him and Reggie Miller in the same class make this an Indiana event.
• Phil Knight, the founder of Nike.
• Don Barksdale, one of the African-American pioneers in the sport who won a gold medal in 1948 and spent four years in the NBA (two with Boston).
• Hank Nichols, the coordinator of officials for the NCAA for more than 20 years.
• Katrina McClain, the two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the year.
• The All American Redheads, the first professional women’s basketball team.
• Lidia Alexeeva, long time coach of the Soviet Union’s women’s teams.