Pistons fans are ecstatic. "One of ours" has been recognized for the Hall of Fame. Joe Dumars, consummate pro, reliable shooting guard, one of the best defenders Michael Jordan ever faced. A Finals MVP, the winner of the League's first Sportsmanship Award (subsequently honored with having the award named after him), and an All-Star several times over. Dave DeBusschere, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Isiah Thomas, Fred Zollner, Chuck Daly, George Yardley, Larry Brown, Bob McAdoo. Former Pistons Joe will join in the Hall. Some of them were inducted for their exploits prior to, or after their Pistons tenures, but still, they wore the colors, they played in the "D". They're ours. It's great, right? No. Something is wrong. Joe Dumars gets past the secret panel of voters, who by some accounts have to call around to find out if they should vote on eligible entrants because they aren't even familiar with the candidate's body of work. Sounds like he could have got in by accident doesn't it? Maybe he did. Dumars, in his first year of eligibility was passed over for Hubie Brown and Hortencia de Fatima Marcari (amongst others). Yep, the fella whose name graces the league's Sportsmanship Award wasn't a first ballot Hall of Famer. I'll buy that Joe didn't have the best career numbers, but when the criteria is arbitrary and unknown, then surely achievement AND numbers should be enough to get a great NBA player into the Hall. When it comes to achievement, Joe Dumars has relatively few peers. A second tier award named in his honor, a Finals MVP, a two time championship starter, Top 50 all time in 3 Pointers made and Assists. A 6 time All-Star, 4 time All NBA Defense 1st team, 1 time All NBA Defense 2nd team, 2 time All NBA 3rd team, 1 time All NBA 2nd team. Over 1,000 games played, 900+ as a starter, 42nd all time in minutes played. Pretty damn good credentials wouldn't you say? So why the pause? Did they need to double check? Was there ever any doubt he should have made the Hall? What is up with all of the suspense? Which brings me to the issue at hand. It's passe to rant and rave about Detroit disrespect outside Michigan. So I'll endeavor to be informative and (somewhat) constructive instead. The Basketball Hall of Fame serves many masters, just one of which is the NBA. And that in my opinion, is a big problem. Women, men, international players, collegiate stars, contributors to the game, they are all in there. The Basketball Hall of Fame covers everyone. Badly. I know. I just lost 95% of the readership. Keep reading. The Basketball Hall of Fame does a terrible job of promoting the NBA. Looking at the Hoophall logo, and the recent promotional logo designs of the NBA, you would be hard pressed to dismiss that there is funding and/or collaboration going on between the two. If the NBA is supporting the Basketball Hall of Fame what are they getting out of it? Not enough as far as I am concerned. And if they are not funding the Hoop Hall, why the hell don't they have their own? A Hall of Fame can do a lot for a league by building credibility, establishing an identity and drawing fans deeper into the history of their team. The kind of fanaticism that breeds multi-generational season ticket holders. Nostalgic interest that promotes throwback sales, name on the court night, irresponsible banner hanging, and confessions of sexual indiscretions. "Son, you were conceived the night the Rockets won the NBA championship. After they won Game 4, I realized the only thing that could make my life better was a late night booty call." Just peruse the enshrinement list. It's a laugh for a NBA fan. There are many people who have been important to the game of basketball, but the lack of live footage, extensive photography and the 1995 website stylings makes me wonder where the Hall spends their money. In the scheme of professional sports Halls online, the Hoops Hall is like that crazy Uncle living in an Ozark cabin. They're months away from inducting the class of 2006 and yet the search by enshrinement year hasn't even been updated for 2005. Check out the NHL, NFL and MLB Hall sites. Too lazy to click and browse? Try this exercise. Cooperstown. Toronto. Canton. If you're an avid sports fan you'll recognize at least 2 of those 3 cities as the home to Halls of Fame. Now tell me, where does the Hoop Hall reside? Damn good question isn't it? I've been to the website several hundred times this year, a die hard hoops fan since 1984 and I have no idea myself. I don't really care enough to look (point made). It's the Bizzarro World Hall of Injustice [floatr]http://img138.imageshack.us/img138/3897/justicehall3lb.jpg[/floatr]Here is the other side of the Hall. It's rare to hear a Hockey or Football discussion about who should be in that isn't or who is in the Hall undeservedly. Baseball on the other hand creates a lot of tension and discourse over the standards of enshrinement. One set of Halls handles their business, and the MLB Hall of Fame is an institution of such high regard that players are more likely to worry about their post career recognition than winning a championship. The Hoop Hall selection process and quality (with regards to the NBA) of membership is so hokey that today's generation could care less what happens when they hang up their sneakers. Here is the NBA All-Time Great NBA Players page. It's outdated (notice a trend here?). Barkley and Dominique are getting in this year. Dumars doesn't even make the list. Forget about Rodman (who should, in my opinion at least). Dennis Johnson, Kevin Johnson, Bill Laimbeer, Sidney Moncrief, Artis Gilmore, Adrian Dantley, Bernard King and Spencer Haywood don't make the HOF cut. Those are players I am familiar with. Don't get me started on Mark Jackson or Arvydas Sabonis. The insane wait period to get Phil Jackson into the Hall means that most coaches go in post-humously. Mullin, Olajuwon and Ewing (not on list) come up next year. Jordan, David Robinson and Stockton the year after that. So how do all of those guys get enshrined and leave room for classics mentioned earlier? Someone is going to get the shaft. My money is on Stockton [sarcasm]whose only claim to fame is being the all time leader in career assists and steals[/sarcasm]. It's a cycle that is doomed to repeat unless the NBA can step in (swiftly) and rectify what is a major injustice to the greats who helped build the pre-Jordan NBA. Not unlike the lack of response by the NBA to pay for George Mikan's funeral expenses, leaving that to one of the truly charitable players in the league, Shaquille O'Neal. Despite the amount of cash and flash the league generates, it's terribly classless and devoid of emotion as the caretaker of its own legacy. My proposal I would expect a NBA Hall of Fame to limit it's entrants to no more than 4 players and 1 founder/contributor/coach/referee per year. Once justice is brought to the greats who are being forgotten, future years may only see 2 players inducted. It's not about quantity per se, but quality. Right now we're in dire need of both. NBA players going to the Hall are under promoted. In some cases where overlooked entrants get in after several years of eligibility, the general fan base has no concept of who they are, or what they did. You can show all the classic Adrian Dantley footage you want to 22 year olds, but they will never understand his greatness in the context of the era in which he played. He's already missed the chance to extend his legacy as a player, and the NBA, so busy to market Manu Ginobili and Yao Ming, well they missed out too. Everyone is a loser when it comes to classics left out in the cold until they have freezer burn. Criteria I would like to see An early entrant scheme. The commissioner should have the ability to enshrine a player only 3 years removed from the league (as opposed to 5). It would require approval by the League Board of Governors, and any player under such circumstances would have to understand that coming out of retirement would not be possible. I am sure details like that could be worked out contractually. The reasoning? Patrick Ewing should be in the Hall now. The Knicks are terrible. At least 2 months worth of retrospectives and favorable press about the Knicks "Golden 90s" (sic) would be a refreshing change from the endless "Is it Stephon? Is it Larry? Is it Isiah?" blather that gets recycled and force fed to us daily through every possible outlet and into every orifice the NY media can target. The same can be said about the Utah Jazz. Malone and Stockton should both be in the Hall quicker than a Dikembe Mutumbo finger waggle. I bet the Rockets could use a Hakeem Olajuwon parade anytime now. Somewhere along the way, the NBA became a corporate bureaucracy They don't cherish their past unless it is marketable as licensed throwback jerseys or the video archive on demand scheme (sounds a LOT like vaporware to me). Upon reading any KING JAMES marketing, I cringe. Not because I am sick to my stomach of LeBron (admittedly having watched less than 20 of his games in 3 years), but rather out of fear that the NBA has lost the ability to be innovative. They simply follow the same plan that has worked since Magic vs. Bird. Forget team, heart and passion. Lose the story lines about triumph over adversity. Get that latest young hot shot crammed down my throat and by the time I am hungry again they'll have another NEXT Jordan to fill me up. There's cash in sentiment. An endless supply of positive media out there, just waiting to be spun, sold and marketed to death. As fans and consumers we have an obligation to combat this "fad" mentality with new players until they have proven themselves. I don't want to hear about how Carmello is the most clutch player, or how Lebron (nee Kobe, nee Stackhouse, nee Hill) is the NEXT Jordan. Get Jordan in the Hall now. While I still hate him. While I will be interested to read the recounts of his career. While his playing career still has meaning. [floatl]http://img83.imageshack.us/img83/4577/laimbeerrodman5qv.jpg[/floatl]Not that Jordan will be less than first ballot. The Hall will recognize the man who took basketball international in a big way and made the suits lethargic fat cats. Will they reward my heroes? It's anyone's guess. I'm not counting on seeing the greatest transvestite rebounder in NBA history make the mark. Or the Prince of Darkness. Should you care? Dantley was replaced with the less Hall eligible but Championship worthy Aguirre. Rodman made his career with the Bulls whether we can admit that or not. Yet, consider this. In 10 to 15 years the question of Hall of Fame eligibility will be relevant to Chauncey Billups, Rip Hamilton, Rasheed and Ben Wallace. If change doesn't come soon, the legacy of today's heroes will be the next to suffer.