It’s time for the NBA to take control of its greatest former players and the narrative that goes with them to the Hall of Fame. Instead of a celebration of those inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, there was more head-scratching and questions about how we keep getting here year after year.
And it wasn’t really about the Class of 2020 — Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett, and the late Kobe Bryant were among nine inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Some called those three NBA players going in together the greatest class ever.
But before fans could even fully enjoy the moment of seeing some well-worthy stars enshrined, news of the 2021 HOF class started trickling out.
Not only did it kind of upstage the current event, but made people wonder again about the process of how former NBA stars are being selected.
It was reported that Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Chris Webber and Ben Wallace were among those selected as part of the HOF’s 2021 class. That class will be enshrined on Sept. 11.
This isn’t a diss of the Basketball Hall of Fame. But it has just become a disgrace.
Who? How? And why?
For years, people haven’t figured out how players get in. What’s the criteria and what credentials do you need?
Worse, who is doing the voting?
Apparently, the Honors Committee casts votes for or against each finalists’ enshrinement into the Hall of Fame. If a finalist receives votes in favor from at least 18 of the 24 members, they will become a Hall of Famer.
Still, it’s unclear who exactly is on the Honors Committee.
And we get it. It’s just not the NBA Hall of Fame. It totally encompasses basketball as a whole. You could have been a great college player and make it in. Or you could have been a great European player or even a Harlem Globetrotter.
Hence, this joint is all over the place.
Still, the NBA is too big and special of a league not to have its own Hall of Fame.
All the other major leagues have their own and get way more respect than what venue the Association relies on.
For sure, the NBA can do a better job. In this case, the league is being lazy and cheap.
It would rather outsource a huge moment in the sport’s history and leave it in the hands of others who don’t even cover its games or stars.
The NBA should honor its own.
During one stretch of voting in the early 2000s, the HOF selected only nine NBA players in an eight-year span. But during that same time, 16 college players made it in and a number of less-prominent basketball figures — many of whom the regular Joe knew nothing about, including international players and coaches from all levels.
Obviously, the standard is far different from recognizing an NBA player.
It’s for that reason that many don’t take the Basketball Hall of Fame as seriously as the others we have grown to love and admire. Most, quite truthfully, consider it a joke.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver should make this a priority, make this a legacy-making project. The NBA has plenty of money to do its own Hall and make it a special place worthy of fans caring about it.
The NBA should just follow Baseball’s Hall of Fame, which almost exclusively admits major league players (along with a few major league managers and others).
There needs to be clear guidelines as to how a player gets into the Hall. In baseball, you have to be retired for five years in order to be eligible.
Plus, the best part about the Baseball Hall of Fame is that the writers who cover the game vote for the people being inducted. It’s way harder to get into Cooperstown. And writers have to cover the sport for 10 consecutive years in order to get a vote.
Hence, it isn’t a popularity contest and has credibility. The Baseball Hall is something fans debate over regularly. Why? They care about it.
If the Basketball Hall of Fame still wants to honor all basketball players, that’s fine. After all, players often are inducted into more than one Hall.
But the NBA needs its own. If it did, there’s a great chance fans would relish the Hall of Fame announcement, not laugh at it.