Hall Of Fame Debate Heats Up For 2014

Alonzo Mourning (No. 33, Heat) goes up to block Chris Webber's shot in the 2000 All-Star Game. Both could be fighting for a HOF spot.

Alonzo Mourning (left) goes up to block Chris Webber’s shot in the 2000 All-Star Game.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. – Let the debate begin?

Too late. It already started. It started years ago, before the clock had even started on the waiting period for Hall of Fame consideration — back when they were still playing and legacies were being critiqued before they had been finalized.

Alonzo Mourning, Chris Webber and Robert Horry could all go on the ballot in the winter for the Class of 2014, as the Hall transitions from the Sunday enshrinement of Gary Payton as an obvious inductee to a new group that may possibly generate more debate than any set of first-time candidates in the Hall’s history.

Webber and Mourning would have been good point-counterpoint no matter what. Then add in Horry, an extreme longshot … except enough people are making a case that the NBA’s Forrest Gump has such a unique role in league history that his case for the Hall allows one to disregard his career averages of 7.0 ppg and 4.8 rpg. Throw in the recent trend of the North American committee judges hazing newcomers and the Webber-Mourning induction gets increasingly interesting.

Dennis Rodman did not make it to the finalist stage in 2010 and a year later suddenly had enough support to be elected. Reggie Miller followed the same route, failing to get out of the first round of voting in 2011 and the next time through going completely across the finish line. It was just impossible to make Payton — nine-time All-Star, nine consecutive spots on the All-Defense team, one championship, two Olympic gold medals — to wait.

Now comes the challenge of putting Webber, Mourning and Horry in a historical perspective as potential first-timers while still considering several credible players among the holdovers from the 2013 ballot — most notably Tim Hardaway, Mitch Richmond and Spencer Haywood. There could also be new options from the coaching ranks with NBA or ABA ties, if George Karl or maybe Rick Adelman are nominated, just as the players must be nominated before they are officially under consideration. (David Stern will probably go on the ballot in either the upcoming cycle or the one that begins in winter ’14, now that he has decided to retire this season, but he will be in the Contributor category and have no impact on voting on players.)

Webber should be a first-ballot threat after nearly averaging a career 20-10, along with five All-Star games, a Rookie of the Year and an All-America season in college. But he generated such mixed emotions. Informal polls in recent years regarding C-Webb and the Hall, in conversations with long-time basketball insiders similar in background to those who comprise the anonymous voters, have shown a split that match his career as a lightning rod. Troubles connected to his time at Michigan could be taken into consideration.

Mourning will get a serious push as a two-time winner of Defensive Player of the Year, a seven-time All-Star, a college star for three years and the intangible of the image that lives on of a fierce competitor. But he was first-team All-NBA just once, as voted by the media, and first-team All-Defense, as voted by coaches, twice — the same two years he was DPOY. Even finishing in the top five in blocks on nine occasions while averaging 20 points in six seasons does not give ‘Zo a clear path.

Whatever chance Horry has will not, of course, be built on statistics — his career bests in a season were 12 points and 6.3 rebounds. His only individual achievement was second-team All-Rookie. Horry, himself, has always been the first to say he does not rate as a Hall of Famer, and yet he has heard for years, back to late in his career, that seven championships and changing history big shot after big shot does deserve the ultimate salute. It will be interesting to see, if, in fact, a nomination comes this year, whether he at least makes the first cut by receiving seven of nine votes. Getting to the next round, the finalist stage, would add to a Class of 2014 debate that should be compelling no matter what.

57 Comments

  1. LeBronsBabyToe says:

    If LeBron makes it, Cynthia Cooper should definitely make it to..

  2. Franklin Griffin says:

    JO JO White

  3. patty, you should go to youtube and watch gary payton play. he is one of the best point guard that played the game.and he’s a good defensive player.definitely he is well deserved in the HOF.

  4. king says:

    Gary Payton is the top 20 point guard.
    And there are 19 better point guards in front of him! lol

  5. Ray says:

    C-Webb Yes He is a hall of fame must. Robert Horry is a 50/50 to me. Every team he played for, he did make a huge difference for the franchises. His game however isn’t good enough to be considered a hall of famer. So he is a tough pick for me.

  6. dd def says:

    c webb yes, cheap shot bob, not even close.

  7. TTKIN says:

    That being said, he is NOT a 1st ballot HOFer. Make him wait a few years. But he should be in no matter what.

  8. TTKIN says:

    I understand the argument against Horry. I certainly do. 7 ppg and 4 reb aint nothin special.

    BUT, and this is a really big BUT, how many guys have 7 rings? And unlike the older stars of today, he didnt just ride the pine. He contributed. Always an energy guy, I dont even need to mention his big moment 3s, but I will anyways. He even started during the Lakers 3-peat after AC Green left.

    7 time champ and guy known for making big 3s in the playoffs needs to be in.

  9. kenwakooo says:

    robert horry holds a unique spot in basketball history. you hit one big shot on one team, not that big of a deal. he hit multiple shots on multiple teams in the biggest games. he should be in the hall. you can’t argue with the number of rings he has.

  10. From an says:

    Reading all the posts made my head spin. The HOF is for well-rounded game changers, not great role players. So Horry/Vlade/Mutombo should receive little to no votes. The dude bringing up Ron Harper should be largely ignored as uninformed. If any of those players get in, the Hall of Fame becomes a joke. The Hall is about the best of the best. Take two points made. Horry should get in because he rode the game changers to 7 rings, but Webber should be left out because he didn’t win any? It’s not about championship rings (Barkley/Malone/Iverson/Ewing/A. English/Dantley. Connie Hawkins?!? WTF! Google his case of point shaving!), because Kurt Rambis has a bunch, but he ain’t ever even seen the hall, and that whole staring lineup is basically in. I am a Piston Fan. I do not believe that Wallace should get in. Great defender, excellent teammate, phenomenal rebounder. Rodman set that gold standard. Is wallace better than him? Nope. Wallace not nearly as rounded as the Worm. And Rodman did it longer. Webber was a power forward that transcended athleticism and possessed a skill set rarely seen. Was he the first person to take $$$ in college? Hell no. Was he the last? Nope. He just got caught. Does that make him less worthy for the hall? Nobody even knew Sacramento had a team before he arrived. Zo should get in. Franchise center who just so happened to be around when Shaq was. Great numbers, defender, inside-outside.
    Side note: I can’t stand the Miami bandwaggoners I.E. the guy who signed off #heatnation. There wasn’t a nation b4 LeBron, and that cat probably wasn’t a part of what nation there was. He was probably one of the idiots who already left when Ray Allen saved their season in game 6. Anyway, yeah. I can now exhale.

  11. BIG SHOT ROB!! Tremendous significance in NBA Playoffs history… Deserves to be in the Hall.. 7rings for 3 teams. ’nuff said.

  12. BIG SHOT ROB! Tremendous significance in NBA Playoffs history.. More deserving than webber..

  13. Dr. K says:

    I think we have forgotten what the HOF is about. It is not established on merits such as, we really like you, you had some really good years or even a single MVP like year. The HOF is about basketball immortality or supreme consistency over time. You were not good, but the best of the best. Notice I did not say consistency over time…but SUPREME consistency over time. How do you make ‘immortality’ when you were barely or rarely even a 1st team selection during the time you played which equates that you were not even the best of the best during your playing career. loved RH BUT really…immortality for someone that wasn’t even a second team selection in anything? Loved Zo but really…??? I am from Michigan so loved CWebb but ‘BEST OF THE BEST?’ I believe the HOF has began its dismal decline with the induction of Ralph Sampson. Loved Ralph, even had the Virginia poster, but WHERE IS THE CONSISTENCY (top of the game) over time?

    Rodman wore a dress but man there wasn’t a single doubt that come game time, he was the absolute best at what he did. Not one of the best, or really good, but THE BEST. Everyone knows DRobinson would not have won the MVP if he didn’t have Rodman (YES I SAID IT PUBLICLY). HOF is for the best of the best….LET’S KEEP IT THAT WAY!!! Create a Hall of Great for the Cwebss, Zo’s and Sampsons…lol. P.S. you can put it in Houston…lol

    • KR says:

      problem being, do you start to kick out some of the older players when someone replaces them as “the best”? these players should be inducted, but as other sports have done, the Hall should then elevate an extremely limited few to “legend” status. we pretty much know who belongs there regardless.

  14. strart-strekt1 says:

    chris webber : no
    robert horry : yes.

    payton doesn’t deserve the hall of fame, but now that this thing is totally mediakilled, be ready for all the hype boys to invade it like the parents invaded facebook.

  15. Klynester says:

    I Think Ben Wallace Should be considered for the HOF, like what @Mo said with Big Bens’ accomplishments, a true Defensive anchor for the Pistons (in the early 2000′s) Horry was great if your talking about Big shots he will always be remembered for those but sorry big shot bob big shots alone cant take you to the hall, as for Zo and C-Webb I don’t think the time is right for them to be included..

  16. sanjay says:

    big ben, alonzon,shaq will all go in hall of fame! webber, iverson, mcgrady will also go a bit later as they have no rings but were all superstars of the league only to be denied by the best in their time!

  17. sanjay says:

    why is my maan ron harper not in the hall of fame? He is not even in the conversation.. He won 5 rings and was some player before the injury and then reinvented his game to help bulls win 3 and 2 with lakers!

  18. defdun says:

    Let’s stop enshrining guys who were good, but not great…
    -Zo was a fierce competitor and a defensive force in his prime. But he didn’t lead his team to a championship. And he was only a one-time All-NBA vote. Is that the stuff legends and great players are made of?! I don’t think so.
    -Chris Webber surely was a fascinating player to watch, but he couldn’t dominate games and has no rings… Although he was a new type of versatile big man, he didn’t change the game? Sorry Chris, I don’t see you at Springfield (yet).
    -Robert Horry was the epitome of a role player, but do we want role players in the HOF?! (maybe enshrine him as the one and only ultimate role player!
    -I really loved TMC at the time, they were so much fun to watch… But were they individually outstanding? I mean like in the top 3% of the players or so? C’mon – neither Chris (he’s already made it) nor Tim nor Mitch belong in the HOF…
    Otherwise we will need a VIP room in Springfield for the top guns like MJ, Magic, Kareem, Bird,, Wilt, Russell, Shaq, Kobe, etc.,

    • bunbury says:

      defdun, being deft is not your problem but blind. (mourning) Since when getting inducted to the hall of fame requires to win championships? (webber) he couldn’t dominate games? i’m curious to find out what is your definition of “dominating.” so “changing the game” is a prerequisite to the HOF? no, blind is not your problem. is something else.

    • KR says:

      Zo is a no-brainer. he didn’t lead his team to a title at the centerpiece, but he was roadblocked from doing so by a jordan-led bulls outfit (the best teams of all-time?) that noone beat. he was also stuck in an era of some of the best men to play the game – shaq, olajuwon, robinson, mutombo, ewing all competing with him for DPY, all-star & all-NBA honors. don’t let the lack of awards on paper lead to a disrespectful call like that. if he played now he would be THE best center in the league and sweep those awards. he was a runner-up MVP, and he came back from a kidney transplant and made solid contributions as a veteran. this is EXACTLY the type of guy that should be in the hall of fame.

    • Van says:

      @defdun– unfair judgement to Alonzo who was playing at a time when the nba had a lot of big men. Alonzo was also and undersized center. He was also and amazing defensive player who alterd do many shots but those stats are not in the record books. The reason why he was only one time all nba was , like I said, because of all the bigs that were playing at the time– Olojuwan, Shaq, Ewing, Robinson; all top 50 and HOF. There were also really good centers like Rik Dmits, Mutumbo, and even Kevin Duckworth who be a top 5 center if he was playing now. If Alonzo played now I guarantee you that he would be more than a one time all nba. Alonzo has enough credibility to make the HOF; and not to mention how hard he played every night. He would have more if he hadn’t needed new kidneys.

  19. WHAT?!?! says:

    Len Bias anyone>?

  20. Dooley says:

    im Australian and dont understand why someone like Robert Horry should be in the Hall Of Fame. In our main code over here, to get in the AFL Hall Of Fame you have to be an absolute gun. Someone that was a star and could dominate games. Robert Horry wasnt that. Yes he hit some of the greatest clutch shots ever but is that enough to deserve getting into the Hall Of Fame. Looking at his Career stats they are average. You can say take Horry out and Lakers and Spurs dont win but you leave Horry in and take Shaq and Duncan out and he gets nowhere near a title. I personally think what he did in those big games was terrific but does not earn him the highest salute in basketball

  21. J says:

    I think Alonzo and webber will just get in.
    horry however I don’t think so. yes he has 7 rings but his stats are poor.
    by the way scott howard cooper horry’s best rebounding year was 1998 when he averaged 7.5
    also I think its just a coincidence and being on the right team that horry even has 7 rings yes he made big shots but as I wrote his stats where poor

  22. Kaan says:

    I’m a die hard Lakers fan and I like Horry… But a guy who did this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t3LjDlMd12g doesn’t deserve to be in HOF. This costed a championship to Suns organization. I don’t care about the “don’t leave the bench” rule.

  23. Kei says:

    I think people overlook how good Mitch Richmond was. Rock can play head to head with Jordan in his Sacramento years. I never saw a SG defend a prime Jordan as good as he was. Maybe Clyde or Bobby Phills but Mitch was bigger and such a scoring threat as well with his post up moves, 3s and deadly mid range game.
    Rock, UTEP 2 step and Mullen was the original RUN TMC! Respect the Rock!

  24. Mo says:

    talking about defensive guys….what about mutombo? he should get enshrined just for his finger wag alone, one of the most iconic signature moves/gestures to be ever seen in sports in general. everybody in the world would emulate that on the playground after a blocked shot, I mean, that finger wag alone has a cult following. =) throw in some DPOYs, All-Star appearences and off-court contributions and you got one who is well worth the induction.

  25. D.W. says:

    @patty
    You’re crazy. GP got what he earned. 1st ballot HOF. Anyone that would make that statement doesn’t know the game.

  26. Big Dog says:

    Glenn Robinson should be in the HF with a great college career and that pure jump shot he had….

  27. onrop says:

    I think potential candidates for HoF should be considered based on their contributions to the game. Everyone has a different role to play on a team so not everyone is expected to be the superstar on the team or averaging 20-10 etc.

    Imagine if C-Webb had a Robert Horry on his team, quiet player seemingly a non-factor but making game/title winning shots resulting in C-Webb having 6 rings. In this case C-Webb would be a sureshot just because of the rings he has (in addition to what he has brought the game).

    So let’s not play down contributers like Robert Horry.

  28. Kevin S. says:

    Ben Wallace should also be considered for Hall of Fame. 4x DPOY, 5x All-NBA, 4x All-Star, 6x All-Defensive Team, and NBA champion

    • Isaiah Jones says:

      He hasn’t been retired long enough shaq has been retired longer but I agree he is a defensive anchor and his work and effort during the pistons good years was some dominant basketball on the defensive end

    • Haydz says:

      except Ben is still playing….

      • WHAT?!?! says:

        Please tell me what team BEN WALLACE plays for, because last time i checked, he’s sitting on a couch somewhere.

  29. Igetbuckets23 says:

    Lets go Zo!!!!!!!! Represent for Miami!!!!!!! #heatnation

  30. Rick J Jaymes says:

    Horry is the man LAKERS FANS in da house right here, but I do not see him making in

    Webber? NAw man

    GONZO, aint happening

  31. What about Tony Kukoc? I think he deserves more than a lot of other HOFamers!

  32. Patty says:

    Gary Payton should not be in the Hall of Fame. If you put Payton in the Hall of Fame, anyone can be in the Hall of Fame.

    • Ceezmoneyallday says:

      What????? You know nothing about basketball if you think Gary Payton doesn’t deserve to be in the ball of fame . Your dumb .

    • Payton not only deserves to be in the Hall Of Fame, but Payton is top 20 PG’s of all time

    • Payton is top 20 PG’s of all time

    • you are all ... says:

      That is what I have mentioned before. I don’t think Payton is worthy, if Payton is then why not Kemp?? Its starting to become a media frenzy, the hall of fame should have been for elite players only.

      • K. Chief says:

        Payton is most definitely worthy and Kemp would’ve been if he hadn’t messed things up. I love Shawn Kemp and have done so ever since the first time I saw him play. I’m one of the biggest Reign Man fans you’ll ever find so it pains me greatly to say that he does not deserve to be in the Naysmith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Not after the way he ended his career. Gary Payton, however, has earned his place in the Hall of Fame and deserves to be there.