Apr 5, 2011, 5:21 PM EST
OK, exhale. No, not from the disappointment that was the NCAA men’s championship game (Butler apparently couldn’t hit the exit on its way home, either), but rather from the Basketball Hall of Fame announcements.
Teresa Edwards, Goose Tatum and Herb Magee but no Reggie Miller, who didn’t even make it to the final round of balloting?
OK, enough already. Why isn’t there an NBA Hall of Fame?
There’s a Pro Football Hall of Fame that essentially is the NFL’s shrine.
There’s a Baseball Hall of Fame that is almost exclusively Major League Baseball.
But the NBA continues to share quarters with anyone who has achieved enduring success by tossing small ball through large hoop.
Here’s the issue:
There is a Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn. It bills itself as “the only facility of its kind dedicated to all levels of women’s basketball.”
There is a College Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City. It boasts, “You will immediately recognize that greatness lives here.”
There’s a FIBA Hall of Fame for international players in Alcobendas, Spain, “to preserve the heritage of international basketball.”
But Google “NBA Hall of Fame” and you wind right back in Springfield, Mass., at the Naismith Hall.
There you can find Sergei A. Belov, Carol A. Blazejowski, Kresimir Cosic, Joan Crawford (seriously), Drazen Dalipagic, Forrest S. DeBernardi, Anne T. Donovan, Paul Endacott, and, well that just gets us through the “E” portion of the inducted-players list.
There is no doubt that basketball success comes at all levels, all nationalities and genders.
But for an entity such as the NBA that so tries to distinguish itself among the major sports leagues, there’s something about following Goose Tatum on the podium, even if the next inductee is Dennis Rodman. Ditto for when Pat Riley had to sit through Dick Vitale’s history of his dipsy-doo dunk-a-roo life (Baby!).
No, the NBA is a large enough global brand to have it own hall of fame.
So let’s get this straight: Vince McMahon has his own (WWE) Hall of Fame and David Stern doesn’t?
No, don’t desert the Naismith Hall, but appreciate that NBA basketball is like no other brand of the game and deserves to be branded as such.
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