The Basketball Hall of Fame, after announcing its finalists during NBA All-Star Weekend, unveiled the final results for this class:
- Dikembe Mutombo
- Spencer Haywood
- Jo Jo White
- Dick Bavetta
- John Calipari
- Lisa Leslie
- Kevin Johnson
- Tim Hardaway Sr.
- Bill Fitch
- Bo Ryan
- Robert Hughes
- Leta Andrews
I’ve stopped getting too worked up about who gets in and who doesn’t. The Basketball Hall of Fame – with all its committees – has inconsistent guidelines and procedures for election, and the results have been predictably sketchy.
That said, Mutombo was a lock among the former NBA players on the ballot. Haywood had a strong case. White’s inclusion was probably overdue.
The two NBA-playing finalists who didn’t make it – Johnson and Hardaway – fall short of the bar I’d set, but they’re probably more deserving of players already in the Hall.
Bavetta was a well-known ref for a long time, and he seemed to be generally respected. He’s at least more highly regarded now that he’s retired.
Calipari is obviously getting in for his time in college – at Massachusetts, Memphis and Kentucky. He also coached the Nets, which is part of his record. In theory, the Hall considers someone’s contributions at all levels.
Fitch, the last of the finalists with NBA ties, coached the Celtics to a championship and won a couple Coach of the Year awards. But he also had a losing career record. I’m OK with him falling short.
Tom Heinsohn was already directly inducted as a coach. Other direct inductees were Louie Dampier, Lindsey Gaze, John Isaacs and George Raveling.