Friday, February 18, 2011

NBA Needs to Create Its Own Hall Of Fame

The Basketball Hall Of Fame is a joke. Or at least the voters are. Today it was revealed that Reggie Miller, a guy who owns nearly all of the Indiana Pacers career records and led the franchise to six Eastern Conference Finals and one NBA Finals, did not make it to the final vote for the hoops hall.

So they're saying that not only is he not good enough to get into the Hall, he's not good enough to be considered for it. That, my friends, is a joke.

I like Halls Of Fame but I'm not in love with them. There is just so much stupidity involved with election to the Halls that leave me in a bad way. Burt Blyleven wasn't good enough to be in the Hall for a decade ... but this year he is. Cris Carter is near the top of many NFL receiving categories and he's still waiting to get in. In baseball, Shoeless Joe Jackson and Pete Rose aren't in the Hall due to gambling, but there are racists, alcoholics and drug users in ... or soon to be in ... the Hall.

The Basketball Hall Of Fame is different than the others, though. It celebrates basketball in all levels. NBA, NCAA, high schools and international participants are in the Hall. Both men and women. That's cool in a lot of aspects because it shows the community of basketball better than, say, football or baseball.

But I do think it's time for the NBA to build their own Hall Of Fame. Put in Boston, or New York, or even Indianapolis. Make it about the NBA and their players and who were the best of the best in the greatest hoops league in the world.

Then do something else that I think EVERY Hall of Fame should do: make the Halls into a pyramid-like structure where there are different levels of HOFers. Michael Jordan and Joe Dumars are both HOFers but they aren't on the same level. Just like Blyleven and Walter Johnson aren't on the same level.

Guys like Walter Johnson and Michael Jordan belong at the top of those pyramids. Their impact was far greater than Dumars or Blyleven. Not to say those two aren't deserving HOFers, but it's not the same thing.

Which is my point. Most younger hoops fans don't know much about Wilt Chamberlain, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar or Jerry West. If a youngster goes to the Basketball Hall Of Fame, Wilt, Kareem and The Logo would just be mixed it with everyone else. Put them in a special level of the Hall Of Fame that only the best of the best get in. Not only would it make the Hall Of Fames stronger, but it would (a) put more pride on where your level is as much as (b) it allows voters to let those fence guys in because you do have a ground floor.

It could also work, in some aspects, as a punishment. Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds deserve to be in the Baseball Hall Of Fame even though both (allegedly) juiced up. Both were great players before the Steroid Era and both deserve to get in. Mark McGwire and Raffy Palmeiro don't deserve it because the Roids made them into HOF players.

So you could, in good conscience, vote Clemens and Bonds in but knock them down a few pegs. They aren't in the top level with Ruth, DiMaggio, Mantle, Young, Mays and Aaron ... or maybe not even the next level down. But knocking them down a bit helps ease the pain of having their names alongside the greats of the greats.

Which brings be back to Reggie Miller. Miller was a very good scorer, a great shooter and someone who revolutionized the use of the three-point shot. He also did all this in small market Indiana (if Miller was, say a Knick or a Laker, he'd be in without an argument). He deserves to be in no matter what.

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