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Posts Tagged ‘Hall of Fame’

KG adds to loaded Hall class for 2021

Kevin Garnett turned the projected Class of 2021 at the Hall of Fame from magical to amazing when he announced his retirement Friday and started the clock on the five-year wait period to be enshrined with fellow first-ballot automatics Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan and possibly wild card Gregg Popovich.

The look will change if Duncan, Bryant or Garnett return to the NBA, but the certainty of the moment, that all three have retired since the end of 2015-16, makes them eligible to be nominated in 2020 for the election and induction that would come in ’21. While it would not be the most star-studded enshrinement ever — the 2010 group included the 1992 Dream Team, Jerry West and Oscar Robertson as part of the 1960 Olympic team and Karl Malone and Scottie Pippen as individuals — the Class of 2021 in its current form will be historic.

And that’s just among the candidates with strong NBA ties and the certainty of players on a set schedule. Popovich, eligible to be nominated at any time but having discouraged the recognition, could decide entering the Hall with Duncan is the best outcome, much the same way Jerry Sloan made it clear he did not want the spotlight but finally gave in to be enshrined with John Stockton in 2009. (That 2009 ceremony, like 2010 and probably 2021, could have been held on Mt. Olympus as well, with Michael Jordan, Stockton, David Robinson and Sloan.)

Plus, Tamika Catchings should be easily elected by the Women’s committee in 2021, scheduled to be her first year on the ballot.

The developments for a class five years away comes in the wake of another highly publicized group, the 2016 group headlined by Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming. The candidates for 2017 are slim, with Ben Wallace the biggest name among players eligible for the first time, an opening for carryover candidates Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway and Chris Webber. Jason Kidd, Grant Hill and Tracy McGrady, among others, can be nominated for 2017.

 

Morning shootaround — Sept. 20

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Paul touched by HOF trip | Report: Smith to skip Cavs’ mini-camp | Report: Meeks set to return in November | Stevens says veterans will push Brown

No. 1: Trip to Hall of Fame resonates with Paul – LA Clippers point guard Chris Paul was honored by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame this summer with the Mannie Jackson Human Spirit Award for his work with his organization, the Chris Paul Foundation. Initially, Paul was hesitant to come out to Springfield, Mass., for the event, but since then has drastically changed his tone about both the Hall itself and has a newfound respect for his the game at large. Jackie MacMullan of ESPN.com has more:

Chris Paul admits it — he viewed his trip to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame last week as a bit of a nuisance.

It wasn’t the first time the Hall had reached out, but it was the first time the nine-time All-Star finally acquiesced.

“They ask,” Paul conceded to ESPN.com, “but you think, ‘I’m busy’ or ‘Oh no, it’s too far,’ or ‘I have too much other stuff going on.”’

During his tour of the birthplace of basketball, Paul was moved by the stories of African-American pioneers who were banned from hotels and restrooms that welcomed their white teammates. He delighted in locating the plaque of Clarence “Big House” Gaines, the legendary African-American college coach at Winston-Salem State, just miles from where Paul grew up.

It prompted a reflective Paul to deliver one of the most memorable and impassioned speeches from an elite player who wasn’t actually being inducted.

“Today was my first day having the opportunity to come here, and it was kind of touching,” Paul told the audience upon accepting his award. “If not for this game, I am not here. If not for this game, my family is not in the situation we are in. And so I’m grateful for this game and what it has done for me and my family …”

With his voice breaking, and tears welling, Paul pressed on.

“It really hit me today being here around all the history that we take so much for granted,” he said. “And I know I do [that] a lot of times.”

Before long, as Paul shared the story of how he pressured his parents to buy him a pair of Allen Iverson‘s signature shoes, he had Iverson — a 2016 Hall of Fame inductee — weeping, too.

“To be here on his special day … man, this game has taken me places I never imagined,” Paul said. “Guys, you gotta come see this, because it’s bigger than any of us.”

“I haven’t never been here before, and as I walked in I actually felt bad about it,” Paul said. “It hit home today, in a big way, what this game has done for me, and the people I love. You walk in and you see all the history and you realize, ‘I need to support this.’

“I’m one of those people who, my wheels get turning. You want other people to see this. You think, ‘Maybe it would be better if this was in New York or L.A.,’ but that doesn’t make sense. The game was invented here. There is where it has to stay.”

Paul, who is also president of the players’ union, said he plans to go back to his NBA brethren and encourage them to see for themselves how the pioneers of the game paved the way — and to spur them to give back.

“Every experience is different for every person, but this place? It got me,” Paul said. “I can’t wait to bring my son.”

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Morning shootaround — Sept. 14

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Shaq: Simmons a ‘LeBron-type player’ | Payne on mend for Thunder | Schroder embraces bigger role on Hawks

No. 1: Shaq calls Simmons a ‘LeBron-type player’ — As a Hall of Fame player and today as a TNT analyst, Shaquille O’Neal is never one to shy away from a bold proclamation. He’s also got a lot of pride in his alma mater, LSU, and will talk up a player from there from time to time. O’Neal tapped both of those wells as he gave his thoughts on the No. 1 pick in the 2016 draft, Philadelphia 76ers forward Ben Simmons, during an interview at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com:

Shaquille O’Neal was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as one of the best to have ever played the game. He has solidified his place in basketball history, and now he is eyeing the next generation of potential stars in the incoming rookie class.

“I don’t know all of them, but I know my guy’s going to be pretty good, Ben Simmons,” O’Neal said last week in Springfield, Mass.

O’Neal said he has paid attention to only the top two picks, Simmons and Brandon Ingram. He got to know Simmons’ game before he was drafted by the Sixers when Simmons attended his alma mater, LSU.

O’Neal recognized Simmons’ multidimensional skillset, from scoring to ball handling to rebounding, which sets him apart as a 6-foot-10 point-forward. Even though Simmons played just one season in college, that was enough time for O’Neal to draw comparisons between him and one of the most talented in the NBA.

“He’s a LeBron-type player,” O’Neal said. “What I mean by that, LeBron does a nice job of making everybody else around him better — passing the ball, doing the small things — and Ben is that type of player.”

O’Neal defended Simmons’ collegiate performance and expects improvements from the 20-year-old in the NBA.

“He took a lot of flack, especially at LSU with not really taking over games,” O’Neal said. “But he’s young. He’ll get to that.”

Simmons will be a centerpiece of the Sixers system this season. He brings intangibles, versatility and a basketball IQ that is already beyond his years.

“When it comes to other aspects of the game, he’s very, very intelligent,” O’Neal said. “He plays the game very well.”

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Morning Shootaround — Sept. 11

NEWS OF THE MORNING

Next up for HOF consideration | LeBron continues Hollywood expansion | Brooks sees no chemistry issues for Wizards

No. 1: Next up for HOF consideration? — Now that the star-studded Hall of Fame class of 2016 has been praised and inducted, it’s time to look forward to next year’s candidates. Our Scott Howard-Cooper takes a look at the candidates most likely to make the list for 2017 … a group that could include Kevin Johnson, Tim Hardaway and Chris Webber:

No vote-sucking automatics of the O’Neal-Iverson-Kidd variety are coming up for nomination in fall/winter this year among players with strong NBA or ABA ties, before the field is narrowed to finalists prior to All-Star Weekend in New Orleans and a second round of voting takes place in time to announce the winners during the Final Four in Glendale, Ariz. There is the interesting case for Ben Wallace, but he is the closest to anyone big-footing their way on the ballot, the way 2016 included O’Neal, Iverson and Izzo as three obvious calls and the 2018 headliners will arrive with hefty credentials. Even George McGinnis’ new status breaks right for the carryovers, with McGinnis moving from the North American group, the committee that includes Johnson, Hardaway and Webber, to the veterans. That makes one less candidate in North America to draw support away, not to mention that the possible benefit for McGinnis of only needing one round of voting in for enshrinement in his new category.

While the timing issues would be relevant any year, they are especially important this time as three ex-players search for reason to hope after the letdown of the recent election cycles. If Hardaway, Johnson and Webber can’t get traction when Wallace may be the biggest newcomer, after all, depending which college and NBA coaches go on the ballot for the first time, it does not say much for their chances when several marquee names are added for 2018.

Johnson needs a push after reaching the finalist stage this year, again, but failing to receive the necessary support, again. He is the lone NBA player who reached the second round of voting in 2016 without getting elected, along with college coaches Lefty Driesell, Bo Ryan and Eddie Sutton.

Hardaway, meanwhile, is going backward, from previously making finalist to being cut in the initial balloting in ’16 and not even making it to All-Star Weekend despite making five All-NBA teams and five All-Star games in a career that included five seasons averaging at least 20 points and three seasons with double-digit assists.

Webber is in the deepest hole of all: two years on the ballot, two years of not making it past the first round, after 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, five All-Star games and five All-NBA spots. Not making it just to finalist in 2017 would be the most-damning statement of all, and it might be anyway, no matter how many coaches are potentially drawing votes away.

There could also be newcomers who have been eligible but have yet to be nominated — Penny Hardaway, Brent Barry, Bruce Bowen, Robert Horry — but none would seem to have the same case as Wallace, the former center best known for patrolling the inside for the Pistons. And there is a case.

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Hall of Fame presenters announced

The Hall of Fame on Tuesday released the lineup of presenters for Friday night’s Hall of Fame ceremony in Springfield, Mass., a group with the kind of star power to attract a separate spotlight despite having no role other than standing a few feet away while the members of the Class of 2017 give an acceptance speech.

Each inductee picks their presenter(s), the only stipulation being that the representative who joins them on stage must be in the Hall. If the new Hall member is not present to choose, as often happens with deceased inductees, the basketball museum selects on their behalf.

The list for this year:

  • Zelmo Beaty, presented by Lenny Wilkens.
  • Darell Garretson, presented by David Stern.
  • Allen Iverson, presented by Larry Brown,  Julius Erving and John Thompson.
  • Tom Izzo, presented by Gary Williams.
  • John McLendon, presented by Wayne Embry, Sam Jones, Isiah Thomas and Thompson.
  • Shaquille O’Neal, presented by Erving, Alonzo Mourning, Bill Russell and Thomas.
  • Cumberland Posey, presented by Earl Monroe.
  • Jerry Reinsdorf, presented by Phil Jackson and Scottie Pippen.
  • Sheryl Swoopes, presented by Van Chancellor and Nancy Lieberman.
  • Yao Ming, presented by Dikembe Mutombo, Russell and Bill Walton.

It’s hard to imagine many better gatherings of centers than a night with Russell, O’Neal, Walton, Mourning, Mutombo and Yao in the same building. And that list of coaches: Jackson, Brown, Wilkens, Izzo, Thompson and Williams.

Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer dies at 94

Hall of Famer Bobby Wanzer, a five-time All-Star with the Rochester Royals and a star guard on their 1951 championship team, died Saturday, the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle reported. He was 94.

Wanzer played his entire nine-year career with the Royals and joined with Bobby Davis to form one of the best guard tandems. Wanzer also coached the team for three-plus seasons, two in Rochester and one full campaign plus 18 games into another after the franchise moved to Cincinnati as part of the lineage of the organization that would eventually become the Sacramento Kings.

“He was a player’s player and as good as anyone in that decade, including (Bob) Cousy,” former Royals owner and coach Les Harrison once said of the 1950s, according to the Democrat & Chronicle. “He was a complete player. Every time we played Boston, he guarded Cousy and he usually outplayed him.”

The first-round pick by the Royals in the 1948 Basketball Association of America draft out of Seton Hall was inducted in the Hall of Fame in 1987 as part of the class that also included Rick Barry, Pete Maravich and Walt Frazier. Wanzer later coached at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., from 1963 to 1987.

“It’s certainly sad that he’s gone but what an unbelievable, wonderful life he lived,” Rob Kornaker,  the current coach at Fisher, told the Democrat & Chronicle.

 

Hall of Fame presenters announced

The complete list of presenters for the Hall of Fame enshrinement was released Tuesday, part of the buildup to the ceremony Friday night in Springfield, Mass.

The role of presenter is strictly ceremonial, with no responsibility other than to stand on stage near the inductee during the acceptance speech. All presenters must be in the Hall of Fame.

Many of the decisions for the Class of 2015 were previously known. Most have obvious connections — former teammates, mentors as coaches — while some are interesting. (Referee Dick Bavetta luring Don Nelson away from Maui, for example.)

The list:

Bavetta, presented by Charles Barkley, Bob Lanier and Nelson.

John Calipari, presented by Larry Brown, Julius Erving and Pat Riley.

Louis Dampier, presented by Dan Issel.

Australian coach Lindsay Gaze, presented by Brown, Hank Nichols and Lute Olson.

Spencer Haywood, presented by Barkley, Bill Walton and Lenny Wilkens.

Tom Heinsohn, presented by Satch Sanders.

The late John Isaacs, presented by Nate Archibald.

Lisa Leslie, presented by Cynthia Cooper-Dyke, Teresa Edwards, Katrina McClain, Dawn Staley, Tara VanDerveer, Lynette Woodard and James Worthy.

Dikembe Mutombo, presented by David Stern and John Thompson.

George Raveling, presented by Phil Knight, Thompson and Wilkens.

Jo Jo White, presented by Dave Cowens and John Havlicek.

 

Mutombo leads NBA finalists for Hall

NEW YORK — First-ballot nominee Dikembe Mutombo leads the list of eight candidates with NBA ties who have reached the finalist stage for the Hall of Fame, part of the announcement Saturday at Madison Square Garden that included the election of Tom Heinsohn by the Veterans committee and Louie Dampier via the ABA category.

Heinsohn joins Bill Sharman, John Wooden and Lenny Wilkens as the only people to be enshrined as a player and a coach. The election of Dampier, a star with the Kentucky Colonels before joining the Spurs in the dispersal draft, breaks the Pacers’ three-year hold on the ABA honor after Bobby Leonard, Roger Brown and Mel Daniels — but Dampier is an Indianapolis native.

Also, Former Australian national coach Lindsay Gaze, the father of former Bullet and Spur Andrew Gaze, was elected by the International committee, the late John Isaacs, who played in the 1930s and ’40s, by the Early African-American Pioneers committee, and former college coach George Raveling as a Contributor. The five enshrines revealed Saturday went through a single round of voting, compared to one previous ballot and another to come for candidates from the North American and Women’s category.

The finalists from the North American group that covers most candidates with an NBA background: referee Dick Bavetta, college and professional coach John Calipari, coach Bill Fitch, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Texas high school coach Robert Hughes, Kevin Johnson, Mutombo, college coach Bo Ryan and Jo Jo White. Another Texas high school coach, Leta Andrews, and Lisa Leslie advanced in the Women’s committee, Leslie as the surest thing for election from either classification.

Chris Webber was among the players nominated, Webber for the first time, who did not receive at least seven out of nine votes to advance to the finalist stage.

The winners from the North American and Women’s will be announced April 6 at the Final Four in Indianapolis. Enshrinement festivities are Sept. 10-11 in Springfield, Mass.

Rod Thorn, the current NBA president of basketball operations and a former executive for several teams, will receive the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award. Rich Clarkson, a pioneer in sports photography, was named winner of the Curt Gowdy Media Award for print while Woody Durham, the voice of North Carolina basketball and football from 1971 to 2011, the Gowdy Award for electronic media.

Hall of Fame debate: Chauncey Billups

VIDEO: A Chauncey Billups slideshow

Chauncey Billups’ candidacy for the Hall of Fame, now that he has retired and the clock officially starts on the enshrinement conversation, begins with a problem: the greatest selling point for a ticket to Springfield, Mass., is a tough sell.

He was a leader in 17 seasons with seven teams, filled with positive intangibles that never reach the box score. He was a difference maker in attitude alone as Detroit won the title in 2004 and Denver reached the Western Conference finals in 2009, a locker-room presence chosen by the league as the first winner of the Twyman-Stokes Award in 2013 as the “player deemed the best teammate based on selfless play, on and off-court leadership as a mentor and role model to other NBA players, and his commitment and dedication to his team.”

He was even the kind of person chosen by the media as winner of the 2008 J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship Award for charity work.

Billups’ strongest attribute cannot be measured. Now, get two sets of voters — one that determines the finalists, another in a second round of voting that chooses the inductees — to put that into tangible terms on the ballot when Billups becomes eligible to be nominated for the first time as part of the Class of 2019.

Which makes two problems.

Besides the first issue, 15.2 points, 5.4 assists and 41.5 percent from the field, with one top-five finish in assists average and a lot of years less than 42-percent shooting, does not get anyone inducted.

Five All-Star appearances, three as a Piston and two with the hometown Nuggets, is a big credibility boost. Being named second-team All-Defense twice, second-team All-NBA once and third-team All-NBA twice will matter. Having a lead role on a championship team — while being named Finals MVP — and also winning a gold medal with the United States in the 2010 world championships will count for a lot.

But being a positive force of energy is what set Billups apart and made him a player to emulate more than the gaudy numbers usually required for a serious Hall bid. It’s why there is a very good chance he will be in the conversation when the time comes, but not get across the line, a good talent with unique qualities but not historic.

“The Hall of Fame would be a big dream,” Billups told Yahoo! Sports in making his retirement announcement. “It marks you down as one of the greatest players ever. It’s not what I shot for, but that would absolutely be a dream. I know in my heart I had a Hall-of-Fame worthy career. If you look at most Hall of Famers, I don’t know how many of them started off the way I started off and made it to the top.”

There is also that, how Billups is a reminder not to give up on top picks too soon, the way he was traded around and played for four teams the first three seasons after going No. 3 in the 1997 draft and didn’t find a real permanence until signing with the Pistons in 2002. He didn’t give up on the dream of a real career in the NBA. Same thing now. He will keep pointing to Springfield.

Ref Bavetta got overruled on final call

After 39 years reffing games on NBA courts, Dick Bavetta is calling it a career. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

After 39 seasons reffing games on NBA courts, Dick Bavetta is calling it a career. (Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE)

It was time for another family meeting, no different from the annual confabs they’d had for the previous half dozen years. Every Fourth of July weekend, at their log cabin retreat in the Adirondacks of upstate New York, Dick Bavetta would put the question to his wife Paulette and daughters Christine and Michele:

What d’ya think? One more season?

“We usually put it to a vote,” Bavetta said this week. “And I don’t get a vote. They basically listen to what I have to say and then they vote. The last six years, it’s always been 2-1 to go back. Christine, who’s like our Wall Street wizard, she’d always say, ‘Daddy, why are you subjecting yourself to all this travel and everything?’

“This year when we met, it was 3-0 to retire.”

Whoa. That result rocked Bavetta in his chair, the idea that after 39 years running the courts of the NBA as one of its most durable and most visible referees, Bavetta would be done. But after a record 2,635 consecutive regular-season games — a streak that earned Bavetta attention and kudos rare during most of his working years -– along with 270 playoff appearances and 27 Finals games, now seemed as good a time as any.

Season after season, Bavetta was out there, a familiar face to players, to coaches and to certain diehard fans around the league who, whether they realized it or not, had become familiar faces to him. This season, he won’t be.

“I said, ‘What’s the thinking here?’ ” Bavetta recalled. “They said, ‘You’re 74 years old’ — and I say this with humility — ‘and you’ve pretty much accomplished everything there was to accomplish.’ ” (more…)


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