With a wrap on the 2012 class after Friday night’s activities, of course the attention turns to next year and the next class. Scott Howard Cooper broke down the list for NBA.com. The big first-year addition in terms of eligibility is Gary Payton. Glove’s a lock for inclusion in the Hall, eventually, even though it’s going to be kind of awkward for the league with all of his highlights from a city his team no longer plays in . But the other question is if he’ll get in in his first-year of eligibility. Reggie Miller was held out last year, which was nuts in and of itself. Do you consider Payton above Miller, all-time, enough to make a different ruling on him?
Cooper also broke down the list of currently eligible folks, and it’s an interesting crew:
1. Bernard King, North American Committee.
2. Jerry Krause, Contributor.
3. Mark Jackson, North American.
4. Tim Hardaway, North American.
5. Bobby Jones, ABA.
6. Mitch Richmond, North American.
7. Maurice Cheeks, North American.
8. George McGinnis, ABA.
9. Rick Pitino, North American.
10. Slick Leonard, ABA.
King you have to think is a lock, as he should have been included this year, and there’s been enough noise made about him the past two years to make you think it’s probably coming to a head. Mark Jackson would be a pretty good candidate, and his career resume looks a lot better than maybe the perception of it. Hardaway’s another easy pick, but you have to wonder if the controversy over his homophobic comments years ago could hold him out. The Hall loves guys like Pitino, so don’t be surprised if that happens. (Have I mentioned we need an NBA-only Hall of Fame?)
But let’s take a second on Krause.
The architect of the greatest dynasty in NBA history. (You can keep the Russell Celtics and the Showtime Lakers. Quality of competition + greatest player of all time + six titles in eight years, six out of six in years the players involved were active + greatest single season ever = victory.) Krause had the mind to figure out how to build a legendary team around the greatest player of all time, how to put talent around him, picked the coach, and oh, yeah, had the stones to draft Pippen.
But if you’ve read The Jordan Rules or Playing for Keeps, then you know the real dynamics between Krause and Jackson, Jordan, and Pippen. It was not pretty. At all. And Jordan, who has as much sway as anyone in professional basketball outside of David Stern and Worldwide Wes, has never forgotten the bad blood.
Interesting dynamics all around, even so long after the fact. I’m rooting for that, just because awkward moments on television are pretty much my lifeblood. Hard to argue Krause isn’t deserving, though.
Finally, Bill Fitch needs in, like yesterday. This has to be rectified.