With this year’s Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony firmly in the books, it’s time to look ahead to 2015, and who might be included in the next group that will receive the sport’s highest of honors.
While there will undoubtedly be a class of those inducted, only one player who will be eligible for the very first time is likely to be selected.
Dikembe Mutombo won’t just lead a group of first-timers; he’ll be there all by himself.
The four-time Defensive Player of the Year, eight-time All-Star and college standout at Georgetown is not only the leading candidate for enshrinement among players eligible for the first time to be nominated, he is the only candidate. Not officially, of course, because the likes of Bruce Bowen and Brent Barry are among candidates beginning with the Class of 2015. But realistically, there is Mutombo alone among peers who last played in 2008-09.
Sitting in the audience Friday night at Symphony Hall as longtime friend Alonzo Mourning was inducted — along with, among others, former commissioner David Stern, a prominent supporter of Mutombo’s years of humanitarian work — may also have been Mutombo getting an advance look around. At the very least, he should breeze through the first round of voting, with results scheduled to be announced at All-Star weekend in New York, before an additional second balloting necessary for candidates in the North America and Women’s categories.
There are candidates who have been eligible in prior years that may get a good look, like Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway or Spencer Haywood.
But with the list of first-timers including the uninspiring likes of Tyronn Lue, Mark Madsen and Bruce Bowen, Mutombo will probably be the only one who last played during the 2008-09 season to be enshrined.