By Matt Moore
In this week's edition of the Friday 5, we take a look at the Hall of Fame and what it means, the power of super-teams, and wonder what exactly the NBPA and NBA are doing during this lockout, since they're so busy.
1. There's been some discussion of whether Dennis Rodman was "flashy" enough to belong in the Hall. I argued yesterday that not only is he arguably the best true role player of the last thirty years, he was also pretty good at offense early in his career before he switched to just defense and rebounding. Is "style' a prerequisite for the Hall in your mind?
KB: I think style could be a qualifying factor to enhance a Hall of Fame resume -- i.e. Julius Erving and Pete Maravich -- but shouldn't be a disqualifying factor. Should Tim Duncan not be in the Hall of Fame because he's boring? Rodman definitely belongs on the merit of his play. The fact that he was a grunt specialist on the floor and has become a comic book character off it has little to do with how deserving he is.
2. Your terrific piece on Tex Winter with his son Chris hearkened back to those days in Chicago, which he's most known for. Phil, Jordan, Pippen, now Rodman and Tex. Will we see a team's nucleus enter so many Hall of Famers again?
KB: Well, interesting that you should ask this question in the middle of a death struggle for the future of the NBA. What the owners seem to be saying with their proposals is that they don't want super teams. They want parity. But super teams -- the Showtime Lakers, the Celtics' various dynasties, and now the Heat's Big Three -- have been so good for business, it's hard to imagine smart businessmen wouldn't want that. Would it really be had for basketball, and for business, if the Heat won three or four titles? Or if the Knicks got Chris Paul and won a couple themselves? Hardly. It would be astronomically good for business. But it's up to the owners and what they really want, and which owners ultimately will win this struggle. I maintain that we haven't even begun to hear from the moderates in big, successful markets who aren't so opposed to a system that at least imitates the status quo.
3. Here's a golden oldie. Are you of the opinion that there should be an NBA Hall of Fame, separate from the Naismith?
KB: This is a tough one, because I really do enjoy how the different levels of basketball are all intertwined. I think you lose something if you separate them. But there is a college Hall of Fame, and many players' and coaches' bodies of work in the NBA stand apart from whatever college canvas they may have painted. So yes, ultimately I think it would be better to separate the two. What could possibly be the harm?
4. Outside of No.3, what's the biggest thing you think should be changed about the Hall?
KB:I wouldn't want to see the voting become as political as it is for baseball, but more transparency in the voting would be nice. I want to know who's voting, and who got what percentage of the votes, and have a clear view of what the criteria are.
5. One lockout note: Big to-do's on Thursday about both sides saying the other wouldn't meet. Here's a question. WHAT ELSE ARE THEY DOING THAT THEY CAN'T POSSIBLY FIND TIME TO MEET? We're in a lockout! That's their only job right now, on either side!
KB: Welcome to the dance, Matt. It's still only August, so the slow waltz continues. And you have to admit, the so-called bargaining sessions we've witnessed for the past two months have been exercises in futility. Honestly, I can't imagine what the two sides spent four hours talking about the last time they met earlier this month. The owners still want what they want and aren't willing to compromise, and the players still reject it and feel that if they make major concessions, they'll be caving to the owners. So here we are, in lockout purgatory. What we need is some momentum, some event that creates leverage or urgency for either side. The calendar will take care of that naturally as we get into September and the owners have to grapple with the notion of canceling games. It also could happen on the legal front, with the next mile-marker being a decision from the NLRB on the players' unfair labor practices charge. The double whammy of a victory for the players with the NLRB, which could lead to an injunction lifting the lockout, combined with the sheer element of time would provide the urgency these proceedings currently are lacking. One final thought: I just hope that both sides aren't confident in the belief that they survived a lockout that shortened the season to 50 games in 1998-99, and thus are subconsciously aiming for the same outcome again. Because 50 games can become zero games faster than they think if they don't get moving.
You can follow Ken Berger on Twitter @kberg_cbs.