LOS ANGELES – Caught between admitting that the process needs more transparency and actually doing something about it, the Hall of Fame today will announce the finalists for the Class of 2011 in a moment that will continue to raise doubts about the credibility of the elections.
Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo is expected to announce changes to what has become an increasingly controversial balloting, mostly designed to give long-overlooked candidates a better chance of future enshrinement, NBA.com has learned. But it comes as several media outlets are reporting that former Pacers shooting star Reggie Miller, the leading candidate for enshrinement among players with NBA ties, did not even make the list of finalists — a very surprising development.
Following 2010 developments that Dennis Rodman and Mark Jackson did not make it through the filtering process, Miller being left behind will surely put Hall officials on the defensive on their planned day of celebration. While Miller was never a lock for enshrinement — and there were similar doubts about Rodman and Jackson a year ago — to not even reach the finalists stage is shocking and wrong.
The announcement will obviously increase calls for the NBA to start its own Hall of Fame as opposed to sharing the current operation with the college, international, women’s and high school game, a suggestion commissioner David Stern has previously rejected. There is a chance Colangelo today may decide to release vote totals for the first time, people with knowledge of his thinking said, but that is far from certain.
More likely, he will enhance the veteran’s committee and tweak rules to give more long-retired players a better chance for induction while calling for better transparency of the process — but resisting a push to identify voters.
No announcement, however, is expected on the previous Colangelo move to include fans in the voting. He would first want to get a sponsor involved to help with the marketing push.
It would have been an especially interesting election watch even if Miller had reached the next stage, with much less star power on the ballot after the 2009 class headed by Michael Jordan, John Stockton, David Robinson and Jerry Sloan and 2010 headliners Karl Malone, Scottie Pippen, the 1992 Dream Team and the 1960 Olympic team of Oscar Robertson and Jerry West. There was some thought that would lead to extra consideration for nominees who have previously fallen short of induction. Without Miller, no one knows what to expect.
Jackson, Bernard King, Chris Mullin, Don Nelson and Rodman has the most reason for renewed optimism. Other nominees via the North American committee include Maurice Lucas, Jamaal Wilkes, Rudy Tomjanovich, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Tex Winter, Spencer Haywood, Maurice Cheeks, Ralph Sampson, Bill Fitch, referee Dick Bavetta, Rick Pitino, Joe B. Hall, Jim Valvano, George Raveling and Marty Blake, the long-time head of the NBA scouting bureau.
Chet Walker is up via the Veteran’s committee. Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis are from the International committee, while Tara VanDerveer and Teresa Edwards are candidates from the Women’s committee.