The Hall is broken. Fix it or build a new one.

Discussion in 'Pistons and Basketball Articles' started by roscoe36, Apr 15, 2006.

  1. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    Pistons fans are ecstatic.

    "One of ours" has been recognized for the Hall of Fame.

    [​IMG]

    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.
  2. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    As someone who has been to the HOF (in Springfield, MA - afterwards you must go to a very funky old German restaurant called The Student Prince), I am 100% AGAINST the NBA having custody of it or anything similar.

    Because the NBA doesn't believe in history.

    I can see the "exhibits" now - one and a half minutes of Earl Monroe, then Dwyane Wade for five. A picture of Oscar Robertson - then a movie on LeBron James. No thanks. I like history, which means I don't like seeing it made a whore by disingenuous hacks who create "greatest of all time" lists with no other interest than glorifying the flavor of the month. That's the NBA, which would have had George Mikan buried in a pauper's grave. No thanks.

    In Springfield, the main Hall is made up of a basketball court ringed by several levels of exhibits, all looking upward to a vast dome (the half basketball in its silhouette). Profiles of inductees are up high on the walls, lining the dome in a progressive spiral toward the top. Closest to the visitor are the people we're least likely to know - the early guys, Ed Wachter of the Buffalo Germans and Nat Holman of the Original Celtics and a bunch of others we can learn about if we only care to read.

    And there is still plenty of room at the top for tomorrow's stars. If they must share a wall with college coaches and foreign stars we've never heard of? That's an opportunity to learn - not an imposition.

    Agreed, it's not perfect. Tell that to guys like Peter May of the Boston Globe, who just wrote a passionate article about why Dennis Johnson should have gone in before Joe Dumars does. (He's right, too.) Everyone's got a gripe.

    But if you look at the way things are done these days, we have to protect even a flawed HOF concept ... because the idea itself is nearing extinction. Respect for history and buildings WITHOUT a big sponsorship name slapped on over the door is pretty much done. Put this kind of thing in the hands of the NBA, and eventually it would get downsized, auctioned off to collectors (or worse, used to decorate a theme restaurant in Times Square) or moved to a back room in Secaucus, NJ the minute there was a budget crunch.

    The politics of glory, Bill James called it. Not always ideal, true. But in the current setup, glory at least gets equal billing with politics.
  3. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    LFan, I realize what you are saying with regards to the NBA not properly handling their legacy. Perhaps I am barking up the wrong tree with my suggestion, but the HoopHall still remains deeply flawed.

    The recent piece in the Globe galvanized me to complete this.

    While keeping the Hall independent may serve diversity and avoid major corporate control, we're still not left with a solid archive for the NBA game's greats. It's a matter of picking one shortcoming over another.

    I found it interesting that women have their own basketball Hall of Fame, and yet it seems that the Hoop Hall tries to also cover that segment. Geno Auriemma is being inducted into both this year. And still no Jo-Jo White or Gail Goodrich.

    Perhaps the NBA should avoid being the caretaker of it's legacy, but if that is the case, then the Hoop Hall has a lot of added work and responsibility to make up for those players who have been overlooked and forgotten.
  4. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    It took me a day to respond 'cause I was out getting one of those forehead sponsorship tatoos (imagine getting $22.15 a month for the rest of your life for nothing more than having the word Zippo scratchedon your forehead!).

    Micro I noted you left off the current NY discussions regarding whether Larry Brown is now traveling with a personal stretcher, or as it's known in the big apple "coach cradle."

    If the NBA had it's marketing act together it would enshrine each years inductees during the June Finals instead of September when no one on Earth is watching b-ball (Enshrinement is scheduled for Sept. 7-9 at the BHOF in Springfield, Mass).

    I'm thinking we should give a shout out to all the guys who were up this year, especially those on the list that got the ziggy.

    Other finalists included;

    Adrian Dantley, whose 23,177 career points only rank him 18th in NBA history! The original 'workin in the paint' blue collar baller. Scored the majority of his points between the blocks when the Bigs were allowed to use their elbows as scalpels. This guy has been shafted more times than a Virginia coal mine.

    Ralph Sampson, the oft-injured Big received the Naismith Award as the National Player of the Year three times, tying only Bill Walton and Cheryl Miller. No one was recruited harder in his day than than Sampson. At 7'4 he played PF next to the Dream in Houston, the original Twin Tower.

    Dave Gavitt, (is getting enshrined this year) credited with founding the Big East. One time CEO of the Celtics (90-94), Chairman of the Board at BHOF and already a member of 3 different HOF.

    Gene Keady, the Purdue caoching legend was voted Big Ten Coach of the Year 7 times. Got the Gold as an Olympic Assistant Coach for the original Dream Team. In 2004, Coach Keady was awarded the 36th Naismith Award by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation for his sportsmanship and lifelong dedication to basketball. He's currently with Raptors org.

    Chet Walker, the Benton Harbor native and seven-time NBA all-star who will likely never get his due. Played alongside Wilt, Billy Cunningham, Wali Jones & Hal Greer.

    Don Nelson, the Dallas GM and one-time / sometimes coach and former player (who was under consideration for his coaching). Probably one of the top 5 all-time worst defensive coaches in the game.

    Van Chancellor, the Houston Comet coach who won four straight WNBA titles.

    John Isaacs, player for the first ever all-black NBL team the New York Rens (Renaissance). From 1936 to 1940 he was paid a whopping $150 a month plus $3 a day for eats. Isaacs won Chicago World Professional Basketball Tournament championships as a Ren in '39 (NBL) and another one in '43 while playing with the Washington Bears.

    Played in the "Black Fives" era and is the last surviving player from 1938-1939 Championship team. This prolific dishing guard (is credited with creating 'motion offense') was surrounded with talent, seven of his contemporary Rens / Bears teammates are now in the Hall. As fate would have it his nomination came by way of the Veterans Screening Committee but still couldn't rally the votes to qualify. He is a member of the NYC Basketball Hall of Fame and Harlem Professionals Hall of Fame.

    Ben Kerner, the one time owmer of the long defunct St. Louis Hawks (now the Atlanta Hawks).

    Pedro Ferrandiz, the former Spanish coach.

    Sandro Gamba, Italian coach and one time euro-star player.
  5. max

    max All-Star

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    Good Piece G-man.

    The Hall lost me the 1st time I heard some foreign players inducted. Whats some guy who played in Italy 20 years ago doing in a Hoops HOF located in the States? Get them out of there. Don't they have their own hall oversees?

    Supposes its important to realize that it is the bball HOF and not the NBA HOF.
  6. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    Yeah. Who do these guys think they are, trying to horn in on an American game invented by a Canadian?
  7. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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  8. max

    max All-Star

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    Put the hall in Canada then .
  9. roscoe36

    roscoe36 All-Star Administrator

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    G-man ran out of ink. I'll accept the kudos in his place. I wrote it after all. ;) :D

    I'm down with celebrating Int'l players, but I doubt many folks outside the US make a pilgrimage to "Springfield" like some do to "Cooperstown".

    Which was another beef of mine. Max, you're tech savvy. Browse the Hall. It's in terrible need of active maintenance and creative vision. If I'm an Italian fan looking up a player from my country and I hit the HoopHall, it's like Internet '98.

    There should at least be translations of member histories in their native tongue.

    Absolutely. Hence why the NBA should start a Professional Hall.

    How can anyone tell their kids about Bernard King ripping the Pistons heart out in '84 and then go to the Hall (or it's website) and he is nowhere to be found?

    There are missing players. It's a big problem. JD having an award named after him in the most prominent and arguably best league in the world, and he can't get in first ballot? It's a sham. If Stockton or Ewing don't get in on the first ballot, I think that will be a crime.

    Hall of Fames exist to promote the sport by honouring it's history. While it's great that they have classics, internationals, and collegiate players, which present a wonderful learning opportunity, a tremendous group of amazing ballers are being ignored and that makes the learning experience limited. Like reading books that are mostly 15+ years old and skipping recent literature.

    When you can't tie basketball to the most visible league effectively, it's a breakdown. That's my beef. Maybe my solution isn't ideal or even desireable, but as it stands, the Hall is at best, semi-relevant to the modern fan.
  10. max

    max All-Star

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    Micro - I suppose there is a method to the maddness. Perhaps there are a lot of foreign tourists with the hall on their must see list. Me - I would drive right by completely unaware.

    If anyone out there can tell me about Dino Meneghin without looking him up I will be very impressed.
  11. G-man

    G-man Starter

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    Put the BHOF in Canada?

    I Like It! As long as it's between Windsor and Toronto I'm cool with the whole Canadian gig. Maybe they should make it a traveling hall for 6 months of every year, like an art exhibit. Take the show to "everyman". I mean c'mon, who from anyone but the east coast would actually make plans to visit Springfield?

    Hey 'Cro what's the haps on drubbing internet '98? Old '98 still beats the hell out'a the Millenium Edition...:)
  12. TaS

    TaS All-Star Forum Donor

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    I'm not sure why, but I don't care about any Hall of Fame in any sport. It seems really boring going to look at a bat or a pair of short shorts in a glass case.
  13. LanierFan

    LanierFan Bench Warmer

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    Well, I know of him. Think he was a point guard whose career lasted about as long as Gordie Howe's. Might be wrong, but hey I took a shot.

    Going back to the chicken-or-egg issue of fan interest, is that the Hall's fault or the NBA's fault? Have the people who are making billions out of basketball put enough back into educating fans? Why do we expect them to suddenly respect (ahem) old-fogey memories of Bernard King? Might as well hope for a Harry Boykoff retrospective.

    My feeling is, it would be easier to change the existing HOF than it would be to create and maintain a viable alternative. Perhaps that means adding a sponsored "NBA Gallery" where living pros who are already HOF members vote on a wider circle of honorees using a modified MVP voting system.

    BTW, if you're looking for a vacation idea, the great thing about Cooperstown and Springfield is that they are quite close. A hell of a weekend. Leave your computer home and go see real stuff.
  14. max

    max All-Star

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    Anyone remember the Pistons hall of fame from the late 90's? It was where the Singular club bar is now. Used to have the trophies on display, news clippings, uniforms and video highlights of significant games.

    Just could not let that space stand without selling something in it.

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