Blog Entry

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

Posted on: August 19, 2011 2:35 pm
By Matt Moore

In this week's edition of the Friday 5we delve further into the idea of an NBA Hall of Fame. Who would Ken take in the inaugural class? Why won't this happen? And by the way, did Kobe pumping up the union really mean anything? 

1. Let's say the NBA didn't figure out how to blow a $930 million media deal, the merchandising, ticket sales, sponsorship money, and various investments, and instead had the money to open their own Hall of Fame. You get six guys, and six guys only to put into the inaugural class. Who goes in? Players, coaches, league personnel, etc.

KB:  Good question. I'd have to go: 1. Michael Jordan; 2. Wilt Chamberlain; 3. Bill Russell; 4. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar; 5. Oscar Robertson; 6. Magic Johnson. It's tough to leave Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird, Shaquille O'Neal, and Hakeem Olajuwon out, but six spots are six spots. Also, tough call not to have Red Auerbach among the first inductees, but the NBA has always been and will always be a players' league.

2. If you were designing said Hall, what would you have its primary mission statement be?

KB: The mission would be simple: To honor, recognize and remember the greatest contributors in the history of NBA basketball.

3. Who leads the coaching exhibit, Red or Phil?

KB: Though Phil passed Red for the most titles, there is no surpassing Auerbach's legacy. Aside from nine championships in 10 years as a coach, there were the titles he orchestraed as GM, and most importantly, his achievements with racial integration at a time of segegation and deep racial divides in America -- and especially, in Boston. Auerbach drafted the first black player in the NBA, hired the first black coach in any American professional sport, and had the first all-black starting lineup in NBA history.

4. What's the biggest reason outside of financials for the league not to do this?

KB: Politics. Does the NBA risk alienating itself from the basketball community by breaking away and declaring its independence from a sport whose various tentacles -- college, international -- are intertwined?

5. Jumping back to reality real quick. What exactly is there for the players to unite around that Kobe's talking about? Isn't it pretty much just "don't spend all your money and get desperate?"

KB: No, there's much more than that. With the various income levels and priorities among the players, it could be easy for a wedge to be driven into the NBPA. So while there's a divergence of opinion about executive director Billy Hunter's strategy not to decertify or disclaim interest, it is in the best interests of the players to stand behind that strategy until it is exhausted as a viable option. The agents pushing for decertification are forgetting that the strategy turned into a dead end for the NFL players. The same fate would likely await the NBPA in federal court under antitrust law. The best strategy for the players is to see the NLRB strategy through to a conclusion and proceed from there depending on whether they win or lose. Don't forget that regardless of which legal strategy the players pursue, this will only be resolved one way: at the bargaining table. A fractured union will suffer a slow, horrible death there.

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: August 27, 2011 10:48 am

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

clearly, jsm ... and Russell could easily be in the top 6, but you only get six.  Russell's achievements are many, and worthy.  Auerbach built those teams though, and as Berger notes, was as much or more a pioneer in the racial field as Russell.  He has as many titles, and frankly, I tend to discount player championships a bit, particularly back in those days.  If we counted titles, the first HoF class would be all Celtics, after all: Jones, Jones, Heinsohn, Havlicek, Cousy ... which of them would you like to give responsibility for the titles?  Certainly Russell was a key player, but Auerbach was the architect.

The better question is: which of the six I named do you want out in order to put Russell in?

Since: Feb 8, 2010
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:52 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

My comment was directed at poster Schildkrotte, not Berger.

Since: Feb 8, 2010
Posted on: August 21, 2011 12:50 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

No Russell in your top 6?  11 titles in 13 years, the first black superstar and say not having Red in the top 6 is a mockery, but leaving out Russell is even worse.

Since: Jun 14, 2008
Posted on: August 20, 2011 10:27 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

Wilt only wasted his talent in comparison to the ideal 100%-efficient athlete, and I don't know many of those.  Maybe Greg Maddux.

Anyway, Wilt did not have the heart to match his talent, which was the most dominant over the then-current rest of the NBA in the history of the league.  Only Ruth, Edwin Moses and maybe 1983-era Gretsky or 2000-era Tiger were more dominant over the state of their sports during the time they played.  Wilt had a vertical leap of 6 feet and the dexterity of a decathlete.  But he never wanted to be viewed by the fans or media as a monster, so he was often tentative on defense.  Russell was 4 inches shorter but so much more intense that he would often dominate the matchup in everything other than garbage-time dunks.

But this is true of most athletes and most basketball players.  Shaquille, Wilt's closest heir, is also Top 15 all-time as a player, and he also squandered half of his career either being out of shape or declining to perfect a reliable shot from beyond 6 feet.  Jordan also could have won even more rings if he didn't spend 6 years in retirement.  Regarding today's two best players, Kobe chased a dynasty out of town, and LeBron seems to think that games are only 46 minutes long.  Both will still retire as Top 15 also (Kobe is already there).

Regardless, it is inconceivable not to have Wilt as one of the handful of inaugural NBA HoF inductees.  One of the league's historical eras should justifiably be called "The Russell/Chamberlain era," and it represents the most significant rivalry from 1946 all the way to 1979.  

Since: Sep 22, 2006
Posted on: August 20, 2011 7:23 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

1.  George Mikan--absolutely revolutionized the game.

2.  Wilt Chamberlain--the guy who said he was a waste knows nothing about basketball.  Wilt not only scored 100 once, he scored 50 or more nearly 100 times in his career. And when he was criticized for taking too many shots, he nearly led the league in assists the next year.  He may not have the most championship rings, and he may have had his personality/ego problems, but he was almost undoubtedly the greatest basketball player ever.

3.  Hank Lusetti--major achievement, inventing the jump shot, came in college and is somewhat disputed, but there's not a better name to put to it and, like Mikan forcing rule changes on center jumps (after every basket?  really.), this changed the game more than anything.

4.  Kareem Abdul-Jabbar--again, did just as much to change the college game, but was "an accumulator" as a pro--of championships, points, blocks, rebounds ... he did it all, and he did it with class.  He even made it okay to be Muslim in America (for a while, anyway) by quietly and classily standing up for things he believed in; it's a sham and a mockery that Kareem can't find a coaching job.  To me--a relatively short, white kid from the suburbs, he is basketball.

5.  Red Auerbach--yep, it would be a mockery to leave him out.  He built and coached all those champions, and had the icon--the victory cigar--that so many remember and associate with the game.

6.  Michael Jordan--probably the guy most people here will put atop their list, but that's because most people don't have a sense of the history of the game.  I was torn between Jordan, Julius Erving (basically the only reason the ABA was bought out instead of crashing, and re-popularizer of the dunk), Rick Barry, Oscar Robertson, Bob Cousy, and Bill Russell, but I guess I just named my second class, eh> 

Since: Jun 1, 2011
Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:39 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

Wilt never fouled out of a game once (his own personal goal to never foul out) so EVERY single game he got to 4 or 5 fouls he SHUT IT DOWN defensively - Pathetic!

how do you know? were tou watching those games?

Since: Apr 9, 2010
Posted on: August 20, 2011 12:16 am

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

Wilt Chamberlain is the biggest waste of talent to ever walk onto the hardwood.

Wow. For a guy who averaged 30pts and almost 23 rebounds per game for his career, I can't even imagine what he could have done had he not wasted his talents. I mean during his talent-wasting years, he scored 100 points in a single game. That's pretty amazing for only giving a half-a** effort. He also won 4 MVP awards and is the all-time leading rebounder as well as being in the top 5 all-time in scoring. Yeah, he was a huge waste.  

Since: Jul 21, 2007
Posted on: August 19, 2011 10:02 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

jerry west ??????

Since: Jul 5, 2010
Posted on: August 19, 2011 9:17 pm

Friday 5 with KB: An NBA Hall of Fame edition

Wilt does not belong in the top 6.

The year Wilt averaged 50-20 (In the weakest era ever), Oscar averaged a triple double, and Elgin put up 38-19-5 (per game!) 

Wilt never fouled out of a game once (his own personal goal to never foul out) so EVERY single game he got to 4 or 5 fouls he SHUT IT DOWN defensively - Pathetic!

Wilt had 6 coaches in 11 years, and was traded in his prime - NOBODY whose top 6, 10 or even 20 should be traded in their prime.

Wilt's the biggest waste of talent to ever walk onto the hardwood.

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