Sunday, April 4, 2010

Hall of Fame 2010: Who Got Shut Out?

Today the Basketball Hall of Fame announced its 2010 inductees, which include Scottie Pippen, Karl Malone, Dennis Johnson, Cynthia Cooper, Jerry Buss, and Bob Hurley Sr. I cannot quarrel with any of these decisions.

From the original list of nominees, losing candidates include:
(1) Players: Jamaal Wilkes, Chris Mullin, Bernard King, Richard Guerin, Gus Johnson, and Maciel Pereira;
(2) Coaches: Don Nelson, Tex Winter, Harley Redin, and Vladimir Kondrashin;
(3) Teams: 1960 U.S. Men's Olympic team; 1992 U.S. Men's Olympic team; All-American Redheads

Most of the players above do not strike me as HOF material. Wilkes, Mullin, and King were fine small forwards in a SF-happy decade, but did not distinguish themselves as championship-level players. Guerin and Johnson retired over thirty years ago; why should we consider them now?

Pereira probably deserves the honor as the avatar of Brazilian ball.

Coach Nelson has been at his craft a long time, hence his near-record win total, but has never been held as a peer of truly great coaches such as Larry Brown, Gregg Popovich, Phil Jackson, and Jerry Sloan. Witness the 2005-06 Dallas Mavericks: after several years of playoff underachievement, Nelson resigned and Avery Johnson took the team to the Finals just 15 months later. So keep this guy out of the Hall.

Coach Winter has helped Phil Jackson earn nine NBA championships as an offensive consultant, but never delivered HOF-type results as a head coach in his own right. He may have helped Kansas State reach the NCAA Final Four twice, but let us not forget that the NIT Tournament was the more prestigious contest back in the '50s. With all due respect, Winter does not deserve a spot.

Coach Kondrashin surely deserves it for building Russian (Soviet) hoops into a stalwart and thereby spreading a zest for the game. Without him, there might be no Kirilenko or Prokhorov, and nowhere for the Trajon Langdons to ply their trade.

Coach Redin compiled a 87% winning record at Wayland Baptist University. However, I must admit that I do not understand enough context of women's college basketball in the 1960s to opine as to the magnitude of this achievement. I cannot answer this one.

I am not sure what the criteria for Hall of Fame teams should be. All of the teams above were dominant and are now regarded as legendary, so induct them all, I say.
UPDATE: After I wrote the above, news emerged on the afternoon of April 5th, indicating that Pereira, the 1960 US team, and the 1992 US team will all be inducted.

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