Each week, we’ll ask our stable of scribes across the globe to weigh in on the three most important NBA topics of the day — and then give you a chance to step on the scale, too, in the comments below.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement is this weekend. Do you like the Hall as is, or would you prefer the pro game have its own place, like football?
Steve Aschburner, NBA.com: The NBA would be better off with its own Hall of Fame. When you go to baseball’s Hall in Cooperstown or hockey’s in Toronto, the emphasis is 98 percent on MLB or the NHL. This league’s history is rich enough now to carry its own shrine and museum, and the crazy-quilt selection process — too many college coaches enshrined, for instance, or relative unknowns from overseas and now the goofy “team” entries — muddies the message and the honor. Right now, the joint in Springfield is a hodgepodge and the NBA inductees and presence wind up with a lower profile out of some notion of “fairness.” Imagine, though, what the league’s marketing machinery could do with its own Hall, balloting system and annual ceremony.
Fran Blinebury, NBA.com: I do like being able to trace the roots of the game all the way back through one Hall of Fame, including high school, colleges, pros and international players, coaches and contributors under one roof. There just needs to be a better ongoing program of education about qualification. I’m speaking specifically about a player such as Ralph Sampson, a three-time College Player of the Year, who unquestionably has deserved enshrinement, but has had to wait due an NBA career that was stifled and cut short by injury.
Jeff Caplan, NBA.com: It doesn’t bother me that the NBA does not have its own Hall of Fame. Basketball is different than football. Women don’t play football collegiately or professionally, and American football is not a global game like basketball. So it actually seems fitting that NBA players are included in an all-encompassing basketball Hall of Fame.
Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com: Keep it the way it is. I get that a lot of fans in the United States, in particular, don’t like hearing an unfamiliar name get elected when a favorite NBA player has missed. But that’s not because the basketball Hall also salutes the amateur, women’s and international levels. No NBA representative has missed being elected because the coach of the Soviet Union women’s team got in. Putting an occasional spotlight on the parts of the game that don’t ordinarily get much attention is not a bad thing. It doesn’t take anything away from the moment for the headliners.
John Schuhmann, NBA.com: Hall of Fame voting often confuses me, but it would be weird to have two Halls and two different enshrinement ceremonies for NBA stars. The current set-up isn’t perfect, but for the most part, the right players are in and out and we’re not desperate for a change.
Lang Whitaker, NBA.com’s All Ball blog: The Hall of Fame seems to matter most to the people who are either in it or are hoping to get in. To everyone else, it’s a building in Massachusetts that you can visit and relive some pretty neat memories. Having it be a catch-all Hall for all things basketball, not just the NBA, seems like, if anything, it could be helpful for basketball fans as a way to consolidate different levels of the game. The thing that bothers me about the Hall is how mysterious the entry process is. What are the criteria for nomination? Who are the people deciding these things? Why all the secrecy around it?
Stefanos Triantafyllos, NBA Greece: A member of the Hall of Fame (for more games with a national team) Panagiotis Giannakis, often says that “basketball is one same thing”, whether we are talking about youth leagues or the NBA. I agree with the “Dragon” and like the international flavor that the Hall of Fame is showcasing.
Akshay Manwani, NBA India: That’s why it’s called The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Why should it be exclusively for pro athletes alone? Imagine where Michael Jordan would have been without coach Dean Smith’s influence on him? The Hall, currently, allows for everyone, be it at the amateur or pro level, who has helped shape the game of basketball into its present form to be enshrined provided they have made an impact. That’s the way it should remain.