Basketball Prospectus: Unfiltered Everything Else is Fluff.

September 15, 2009

A Hall of Our Own

Filed under: Uncategorized — Kevin Pelton @ 1:20 am

In the wake of last weekend’s Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremonies, Friend of BP M. Haubs from The Painted Area argues the time has come for an NBA-only Hall of Fame. I’ve never been sold by arguments in the past, in part because there’s often an undercurrent of NBA superiority, particularly towards the women’s game (something to which I am especially sensitive).

Part of the line of argument seems to be that the NBA is getting squeezed out in favor of representatives of other fields, which I don’t think is accurate. According to the Hall’s explanation of the enshrinement process, the four different categories of Hall of Fame candidates–North American (that is, NBA and college), Veteran (retired at least 35 years), Women and International–essentially operate independently. That is, just because the Hall of Fame inducts a European star or a coach from the ranks of theĀ  NCAA Women’s game doesn’t mean an NBA player is not being voted in.

However, Haubs adds some more trenchant criticism, including the blurred line between collegiate and professional accomplishments and the Hall’s own shortcomings, especially in terms of transparency.

Regarding players specifically, the idea that performance in both pro and college is taken into consideration makes the precedents rather bizarre when looking at upcoming candidates.

[. . .]

The point is this: by the standards set by these players, guys like Christian Laettner, Danny Manning, Glen Rice and Grant Hill should unquestionably receive strong consideration for the Hall, and Tyler Hansbrough and Joakim Noah already have a leg up on their candidacies.

One way or another, I’d love to see the Hall of Fame become a bigger part of the NBA. Last year’s center-heavy class of Patrick Ewing and Hakeem Olajuwon drew some attention, but when was the last time before this year that people really paid attention to the induction weekend? Granted, it’s partially because Peter Vecsey apparently delivered the worst speech in Hall of Fame history and Michael Jordan‘s love letter to everyone who inspired him along the way so divided observers (I enjoyed it for the most part), but every year the NFL and baseball draw huge attention to their Hall of Fame ceremonies. There’s no reason we can’t accomplish the same thing in the NBA.

(Hat tip: TrueHoop)

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