The Glove belongs in The Hall.
And it could happen. The list of nominees for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame were released on Monday and Payton is among them for the first time. So was Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, as well as returning guys like Bernard King who should be in. Of course, it’s never that simple with the Hall of Fame, which is an international hall of which the NBA is only part.
Everybody on the nominee list goes before a nine-person panel and if they get seven yes votes move on to the finalist stage (who makes the cut is announced All-Star Weekend in Houston). A group of 24 writers makes the final votes later, the list of guys getting in comes out in April.
NBA.com has the full list of nominees (and we list them below) but here are a few highlights:
• Gary Payton: Best remembered from his years in Seattle, The Glove is one of the best guards of his generation, a guy who gave you 16.3 points and 6.7 assists a game over the course of his career, but it was the defense on the other end of the floor that made his reputation. He is a nine-time All-Star, was the 1996 NBA Defensive Player of the Year and got a ring as a member of the 2006 Miami Heat. He should be in (but don’t be shocked if it takes more than one year).
• Jerry Reinsdorf: The long-time owner of the Chicago Bulls has six NBA Championships on his resume. He got that while running a very profitable business — the Bulls were never one of the NBA’s biggest spending teams and in an era when other owners lived outside their means then complained about how hard it was to make money, Reinsdorf turned a profit. He has been influential among NBA owners.
• Bernard King: Please, put this man in the Hall. It’s time. He’s been up five times and the fact one of the games great scorers is not in the Hall is a travesty. He averaged 22.5 points per game over the course of his career and that peaked at 32.9 for the Knicks in 1985.
For fun, here is King dropping 60 on the Nets.
• Russ Granik, who spent 22 years as the No. 2 guy at the NBA league offices. You remember him as the guy who announced the second round before Adam Silver did.
• Vlade Divac: He was nominated by the International Committee. Look, if this were an NBA-only Hall of Fame (and there should be one of those, but that’s another rant) Divac wouldn’t make it. Although, Lakers fans would like him to because he was the centerpiece of the draft day trade that brought them Kobe Bryant. Anyway, if you are talking about international players who change the flow of guys to the NBA, Divac should be on the list and maybe a Hall member.
• Oscar Schmidt. While we are listing international guys, this Brazilian legend is a no-brainer for the Hall. He visited Team USA practice this year and you should have seen the Team USA guys bend over backward to shake his hand.
Here is the full list if nominees, via Scott Howard-Cooper at NBA.com.
From North America: John Bach, Dick Bavetta, Gene Bess, Maurice Cheeks, Jack Curran, Bobby Dandridge, Lefty Driesell, Bill Fitch, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Travis Grant, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Robert Hughes, Kevin Johnson, Marques Johnson, Gene Keady, Guy Lewis, Danny Miles, William (Speedy) Morris, Dick Motta, Curly Neal, Payton, Rick Pitino, Mitch Richmond, Paul Silas, Eddie Sutton, Jerry Tarkanian, Rudy Tomjanovich, Paul Westphal, Gary Williams.
From the ABA: Zelmo Beatty, Ron Boone, Roger Brown, Mack Calvin, Louie Dampier, Bob (Slick) Leonard, George McGinnis.
Contributors (off the court guys): Al Attles, Marty Blake, Harry Glickman, Del Harris, Red Klotz, Jerry Krause, Johnny Most, Gene Shue, Donnie Walsh.