It’s a good class.
As usual, there was one surprise on the list — we told you before of reports that Maurice Cheeks had gotten in, but that turned out to be false. The former Sixer player and coach did not make the cut this year.
Who did get in?
• Artis Gilmore: He was elected via the ABA committee, where he played five seasons with Kentucky before a 12-year NBA career with the Spurs and Bulls. He won an ABA title with Kentucky and was the playoff MVP that year. He was the 1972 ABA MVP, a five-time ABA All-Star and a six-time NBA All-Star after that. He ha a great touch, shooting 59.9 percent for his career and had a graceful game. He should have been in a long, long time ago, frankly. But this is the Hall. They back door in no brainers.
• Dennis Rodman: One of the greatest rebounders ever to play the game, he was also an elite defender. Which is why he has five rings — he was at the heart of the Piston’s “Bad Boys” identity, he did the dirty work that balanced out Michael Jordan’s scoring. He remains a unique personality, but his game was more than deserving of this honor.
• Tex Winter: He’s best known to NBA fans as the lead assistant to Phil Jackson, the man who literally wrote the book on the triangle offense. An offense run at all levels of the game. But before that he was a top college coach (he took Kansas State to the Final Four twice and was national coach of the year).
• Chris Mullin: Mullin has a complete basketball resume: In college he was given the Wooden Award (the Heisman of college hoops), he went on to be a five-time NBA All-Star and he has two Olympic gold medals. He was on the original Dream Team. He then went on to be in the Warriors front office as GM. That’s a guy who belongs in the Hall.
• Arvydas Sabonis: Elected to the hall via International committee. NBA fans remember his as a big body with the Trail Blazers, but that was the very end of a long career. He was at that point a shell of the player that dominated Europe previously, one of the greatest centers ever to play (and maybe the best passing center ever).
• Reece “Goose” Tatum: One of the legendary Harlem Globetrotters from the years when they were still a huge deal.
• Tom Sanders: He played 13 years with the Boston Celtics and won 8 titles in that time. But his work after he left the game — he helped set up the NBA’s rookie program — is why he is in the Hall now.
• Teresa Edwards: A former standout at Georgia, she went on to be a five-time Olympian with four gold medals.
• Tara VanDerveer: The Stanford’s women’s coach has won more than 800 games, led teams to eight final fours, plus led the USA to Olympic Gold in 1996.
• Herb McGee: He is the coach at Div. II Philadelphia University, where he has won more than 900 games and a national title.
The only real disappointment we already knew about — Reggie Miller did not even make it to the final ballot. Which is the kind of traditional screw up we have sadly come to expect from the hall. We can debate the merits of Miller in the Hall of Fame, but for him not to make the finalists lists was just a terrible oversight.