The Hall of Fame has discussed inviting Mel Daniels to the 2013 enshrinement ceremony for an overdue public salute after illness forced the former Pacers star to miss his induction as part of the Class of 2012.
Officials at the Springfield, Mass., basketball museum have considered the classy move in light of Daniels being kept from his planned celebration in September by a urinary tract infection. His wife accepted the award on his behalf, and another former Indiana great, Reggie Miller, also spoke of Daniels during his own enshrinement speech, noting their close friendship by referring to Daniels as “Uncle Mel.”
“It was kind of a mixed bag,” Daniels said of watching the ceremony on television. “I understood the situation. There was nothing I could do. I felt I disappointed a lot of people by not being there. But I felt really good about going in.”
Daniels would not be enshrined again. More likely, he would be included in the 2013 program for a belated introduction and round of applause in recognition of his ABA days, an area of the history of the game Hall officials have tried to spotlight the last two years.
Daniels said he would “most certainly” go if invited, but preferred all the attention next year go the that group of inductees.
“I think it should be someone else’s turn,” he said. “It’s a nice thought (to possibly be invited back). I appreciate the gesture. But I think I had my moment.”
Except that he didn’t really, and now the Hall may do something about it.