We all know that the Basketball Hall of Fame is a total joke, run by appointed cronies with steady and unwavering self and shoe company interests, but one recent rule adaption by the Hall was actually met with a positive reaction.
The Hall of Fame changed its category policies in 2010 to help honor former ABA players and “African American Pioneers,” leading to the induction of greats like Artis Gilmore, Slick Leonard, Roger Brown, Mel Daniels, and hopefully eventually Spencer Haywood. Inductions like these left even younger hoops fans wondering how players like Gilmore, Brown and Daniels or contributors like Leonard weren’t already in the Hall in the first place. Seriously. We just assumed they were in there. Because they’re all full on Hall of Famers, even without needing a category assigned to them.
Because the brains behind the Hall reportedly want to tighten things up a bit, those days of rightfully voting in those who were wrongly overlooked (mainly because of the stuffed shirts’ continued distrust for any and all things ABA-related) might be over. NBA.com’s Scott Howard-Cooper reported about as much on Wednesday:
“Let’s put it this way,” said Jerry Colangelo, the chairman of the Springfield, Mass., basketball museum. “This year, for the first time, we brought that up, to say, ‘You know, when we did this, we said it’s not forever.’ The concept was we felt people had slipped through the cracks. This was a catch-up kind of a thing, so we’re not locked in. We need now to review it each year, to say maybe we’ve taken care of what needed to be taken care of in this category or that category. But it’s just too early to say what we’re going to do.”
The current format with the direct-elections will “probably” remain in place for at least one more year, Colangelo said, because the Hall would prefer to phase out categories rather than make an abrupt end. That leadership is having conversations now, though, indicates internal questions have already developed about whether enough deserving candidates exist for the specialized categories beyond 2015.
While eliminating the categories would make the path to enshrinement harder in most cases, it would not end chances. It would simply return to the days of all candidates needing two rounds of voting for induction, a contrast to the current plan of a single, smaller election for nominees in the Contributor, ABA, Early African American Pioneers, Veterans and International fields. Receiving the necessary support — currently at least 18 votes from a 24-member panel — would additionally become more difficult because most candidates would be weighed in the same North American committee against the biggest names from the NBA and NCAA.
Howard-Cooper’s feature goes on to point out a few things that we were unaware of, and don’t like.
Did you know that Zelmo Beaty, who was an NBA All-Star at the absolute toughest era to work as an NBA center and someone that dragged the Utah Stars to the ABA championship in 1971, is not in the Hall of Fame? He died last summer without ever getting that deserved nod.
George McGinnis and Doug Moe (perhaps still feeling the wrath for a betting scandal he was eventually cleared from) are not in the Hall of Fame. Spencer Haywood, who absolutely changed the game of pro basketball, is not in the Hall of Fame.
Heaps of college coaches, international players, and NBA cronies (Russ Granik?) are, though. Colangelo’s in there, of course. So is Nike founder Phil Knight, standing on the shoulders of millions of underpaid laborers. Dick Vitale’s in there, baby.
The Hall of Fame ranks are about to get small and its small voting committee is about to get more self-satisfied. At least they have the good sense to hold their induction ceremonies in September, when we have absolutely nothing to talk about.
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