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Reggie Miller, Don Nelson lead Basketball Hall of Fame class

Apr 2, 2012, 1:32 PM EDT

Reggie Miller Getty Images

I’m going to try — to really, really try — not to turn this into a “we need a separate NBA Hall of Fame” rant. Even though we do.

I don’t want to go there because there are some deserving people getting into the Hall of Fame as part of this year’s class. Reggie Miller, for one. Don Nelson is another (but we knew he was in).

So I’m not going to dwell on the fact that Ralph Sampson is going into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame before Bernard King. I’m not. I’m not going to try and dissect the Hall’s voting logic because every year I can’t find it. No. I ‘m just going to try and let it go.

The Hall of Fame announced its class Monday, and there are a couple no brainers at the top of the list.

Reggie Miller deserves it as one of the best pure shooters the game has ever seen. (Even if he might be the second best player in his family.) Miller led the NBA in three point field goals made in a career, was a five-time All-Star and is maybe the most iconic Pacer of All time. Not to pick on the Hall too much, but how is it he wasn’t even a finalist last year and this year he is in? I miss the logic so often with the Hall decisions.

Is it too much to ask to have Spike Lee do Miller’s Hall of Fame introduction? That would win me back over to the Hall’s side fast.

Don Nelson also deserved to be in as the winnestest coach in NBA history and a great innovator of the game. That was a given.

But now we get into why I think there should be an NBA hall — Ralph Sampson is a member of this year’s class. Sampson was one of the most dominant college players of all time (three time Naismith Award winner) and he was a three time NBA All-Star. But his hall status is based on those college years.

Jamaal Wilkes is another guy who gets in for a college and NBA career combined — he was a force for John Wooden at UCLA and then went on to win four NBA titles and made three NBA All-Star games as a member of the Showtime Lakers. His NBA credentials for the Hall are borderline — and this coming from a big fan of his — but once you add in college he gets the nod.

Still the sweetest corner jumper ever, even if you would never let your kid shoot with that form.

Here are the other inductees:

• Chet Walker, the seven-time All-Star swingman of the Sixers (where he won a ring) and Bulls. This is a good call, look at his similarity numbers and you get Kevin McHale then Rick Barry. Good company.

• Mel Daniels, the two-time MVP of the ABA who was a seven-time All-Star and won three rings in that league. All of those chips came with the Pacers — him and Reggie Miller in the same class make this an Indiana event.

• Phil Knight, the founder of Nike.

• Don Barksdale, one of the African-American pioneers in the sport who won a gold medal in 1948 and spent four years in the NBA (two with Boston).

• Hank Nichols, the coordinator of officials for the NCAA for more than 20 years.

• Katrina McClain, the two-time USA Basketball Female Athlete of the year.

• The All American Redheads, the first professional women’s basketball team.

• Lidia Alexeeva, long time coach of the Soviet Union’s women’s teams.

  1. dexterismyhero - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    Good for Reggie and Mel……Now what about Bobby “Slick’ Leonard?

    Sampson shouldn’t be in.

    • zblott - Apr 3, 2012 at 10:53 AM

      What about Peja Stojakovic? His career is almost exactly the same as Reggie’s in every regard, except he won a title, finished as high as 4th in the MVP one year, finished as high as 2nd in scoring one year, made an All-NBA 2nd Team, and was a much better rebounder.

      Check the facts:

  2. metalhead65 - Apr 2, 2012 at 2:54 PM

    can’t believe I am doing this but in this case I have to agree with Kurt, they need a nba hall of fame and one for everything else. I dot care about international players or coaches and what they did in their leagues. I do not care about womens basketball at all and there is just no way to compare what they do or did with what men do. if they want to celebrate their accomplishments and all fine just do not comepare them with the best that have played in the nba. the reason they won’t ever do it is nobody would go that type of museum so who would be willing to spend the money on building it? that said there is nothing wrong with Sampson being in the hall as he proved he was a dominant player before injuries shortened his career.

  3. moseskkim - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:21 PM

    It’s too late to change it now. The thinking makes sense for Nba to have its own HOF. But what u gonna do with the female stars/college stars and teams and what not? Call them the others hall of fame? Totally disrespectful. Basketball is a sport unlike others where it is a family. There is a deep connection between college bball and the pros and women/men. Baseball doesn’t associate with softball.. There’s no wnfl. Tho would be fun hehe. My point is the nba is a true basketball family and to sever its HOF and separate it would not be fair to all the hard working women/college etc athlete of the past/present/future.

  4. zblott - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:31 PM

    Reggie Miller is now the worst guard in the HOF, and I’m not sure it’s even that close. Don’t believe it? Check out his head-to-head criteria with the most questionable guards in there already at the link below. Speaking of which, a MUCH better case can be made for either Mark Price or Tracy McGrady: Why no fuss over them?

    • loungefly74 - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:59 PM

      read your article, great stuff.

      well…you may be right, statistically, he may be the worse guard in the HoF now but some may point out he did have a presence/effect in his era of play. he was the face of the pacers for over a decade, had many memeorable shots, a team leader (which gives him major kudos) and was also a character (the spike rival, )…

      so…too cut it short, i’m not throwing my hand in the air on this induction. it is an iffy call.

      • zblott - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:08 PM

        Keep in mind with the presence, effect, face of franchise, team leader stuff we hear about Reggie: he NEVER received more MVP votes in a season than all of his teammates. He only got votes twice (finishing an unimpressive 13th and 16th), and both times he tied with another Pacer. That’s how un-important of a valuable leader he was viewed as for the Pacers at the time.

      • loungefly74 - Apr 3, 2012 at 8:17 AM

        i don’t think MVP votes dictate how a player leads a team. i can remember very well…reggie was a force in the 90’s. he was a name you constantly heard throughout that decade. he was an instrumental part of the NBA in that era. maybe the stats don’t show this but with him getting into the HoF proves this point (really, could a committee be truly wrong about their decision?). i think we need to take into account getting into the HoF is not all about sexy stat lines….if it was, terrible players like Stevie Francis, Stephon Marbury, and Tracy McGrady would be rolling into the HoF.

  5. jumbossportsblog - Apr 2, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Reblogged this on jumbossportsblog.

  6. ezwriter69 - Apr 2, 2012 at 4:51 PM

    39.5 percent with most of those from the old 23’9″ three point line is exceptional (Bird’s was 37.8, guess he was REALLY ordinary from 3, right?)
    I’d disagree with nearly all of those ranked ahead of him in the linked article.
    Calvin Murphy and Gail Goodrich? Seriously? Guess they were before your time, if you’d seen them with your eyes instead of the stats book you’d never make that argument.
    KC Jones, with his 38% OVERALL field goal percentage, and surrounded by a lineup that at one point while he was there had SEVEN HOF’ers on the roster simultaneously? C’mon. He was a game manager, a distributor for all those HOF’ers, a good defender who couldn’t stop the elite guards he faced (West’s lifetime ppg against the C’s and KC is 34.5). You obviously never saw him, either.

    Every man’s entitled to his opinions, but I think you need to get your nose out of the stats book and actually watch a little basketball… either that or you’re a NYC hater of Reggie who simply can’t be rational on the subject. I hate it when young folks write articles about old timers without a bleeping clue as to how they actually played. KC Jones and Calvin Murphy? Funny stuff, I’ll give you that.

    • professoressadiesel - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:11 PM

      Couldn’t agree more with you ezwriter! The evolution of Statistics gives people a skewed sense of what the game was back then when Reggie played. People just want to throw a bunch of numbers out on the wall to see what sticks. You can’t compare just stats alone. There weren’t many 100+ pt games during his era, the game just wasn’t like that back then. Everything was grind it out and those flagrant fouls you see today were your run of the mill foul back then. If you don’t understand Reggie’s contribution to the game, you need to watch a game or few from the 90’s – any team. Reggie showed people how to use screens!

    • zblott - Apr 2, 2012 at 7:04 PM

      I guess you know more than all the people who continually weren’t voting for Reggie Miller in the MVP vote each year and weren’t selecting him as an All-NBA performer. Send me your credentials and I’ll interview you on my site.

      • professoressadiesel - Apr 2, 2012 at 8:50 PM

        So should I assume the people that voted for him in the Hall know nothing about the game?

        Let me guess…you know more than them?

        Did you send your Hall of Fame vote in late?

        Please get over it. I understand you’re trying to get people to visit your little blog and all, but what are your credentials that you have to plug on NBC’s blog?

      • zblott - Apr 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

        Do you mean the same HOF voters who didn’t even make him a finalist just last year? They’re obviously inconsistent and swayed way too heavily by public sentiment. You know who wasn’t inconsistent? The guys who were voting DURING his career who consistently didn’t think he deserved MVP consideration or a place on the All-NBA teams.

  7. tcclark - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:12 PM

    Reggie Miller does not deserve it. I actually like Reggie Miller and I wish there were more shooters like him, but his numbers are just not good enough to induct him. Sampson and Wilkes are much more deserving, as are Cheeks and King. I can also name several players who weren’t even finalists that deserve it more than Reggie.

    Reggie Miller was a talented shooter; A very talented one dimensional player. He scored in other ways, but for the most part, Reggie lived and died by the 3-pointer. His overall numbers look pretty good, but honestly so do Kevin Willis’:

    Reggie: 25000 points 4000 assists, 4000 rebounds
    Willis: 17000 points, 11000 Rebounds

    Kevin Willis in no ways should even be considered for the Hall of Fame. He, like Reggie, played for a lot of years and accumulated a lot of statistics. Reggie played 18 years, Willis 22. You can’t trust total numbers. You have to look at averages.

    Reggie Miller – 18 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists

    That is a guy who is good, but not hall of fame worthy. Throw in the fact that he was a scorer who never scored 25 points per game, and only average 20 points or more in 5 of 18 seasons, and you have a guy that shouldn’t even be a finalist. Reggie’s defense was atrocious and he has half the assist average that ALLEN IVERSON does. That’s right, Reggie Miller passed the ball half as much as the notorious ball hog Allen Iverson.

    let’s Compare Reggie’s credentials to non-finalists

    Reggie: 18 pts 3 Ast 3 Reb 1stl. 5 All Star Teams. 3-time All-NBA 3rd team. Number retired by Pacers

    Kevin Johnson: 18-9-3-1.5. 3 All-Star Teams. 4-time All-NBA 2nd team. 1-time All-NBA 3rd team. NBA Most Improved Player. Number Retired by the Suns.

    Bobby Jones: 12-3-6-1.5. 5 All-Star teams (1 ABA). 1-time All ABA 2nd Team. 8-Time NBA All Defensive 1st team. 1-time NBA All-Defensive 2nd team. 2-time All-ABA 2nd team. ABA All-Rookie 1st team. NBA Champion. 1st ever Sixth Man of the Year Award. Olympic Silver Medalist. Number retired by 76ers.

    Spencer Haywood: 20-2-10-1(block). 5 All-Star teams (1 ABA). 2-time All-NBA 1st Team. 1-time All-NBA 2nd team. 1-time ABA MVP. 1-time All-ABA 1st team. ABA ALL-Rookie 1st Team. ABA All-time team. NBA Champion. Olympic Gold Medalist. Number Retired by SuperSonics/Thunder

    Jo-Jo White: 17-5-4-1. 7 All-Star teams. 2-time All-NBA 2nd team. NBA All-Rookie 1st team. 2-time NBA Champion. NBA Finals MVP. Pan Am Games Gold Medalist. Olympic Gold Medalist. Number Retired by Celtics.

    i could name so many more that we could argue over (Mark Price, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma, Brad Daugherty, etc), but the fact is, voters got wrapped up in the pizzazz of Reggie Miller instead of looking at his credentials. Now Some of the guys I listed are deserving and others aren’t, but I think they can all make a case that they are more deserving than Reggie Miller.

  8. drunkenjunk - Apr 2, 2012 at 5:57 PM


    You don’t know what you’re talking about, go away. He was another victim of Jordan’s greatness. If MJ wasn’t around, Reggie would of gotten a ring.

    • tcclark - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:01 PM

      Jordan didn’t keep him from scoring more points in his career. Jordan didn’t keep him from improving his defense, or rebounding, or facilitating. Jordan didn’t keep him from making more than 5 all-star teams in 18 years. Jordan didn’t keep him from outplaying guys like Mitch Richmond and Rod Strickland. The only thing Jordan kept him from, and this applies to many players, was getting a ring, and who knows if he would have won one anyway. Miller and Smits were never better than Stockton and Malone, or Payton and Kemp.

    • lovegurutoo - Apr 2, 2012 at 9:46 PM

      1998-1999 Season, Jordan was out. Reggie faced the Knicks. He couldn’t come through. He doesn’t have what it takes.

      If Reggie Miller can get to the HOF, so does the 1998-1999 starting 5 of the Knicks, all 5 (Sprewell,Houston,Johnson,Ward,Ewing).

  9. jsprunner - Apr 2, 2012 at 6:01 PM

    Every time I slip and think about taking the basketball HOF seriously, I always remember that Dick Vitale is somehow in. Then I wake up……

  10. getsome99 - Apr 2, 2012 at 11:55 PM

    Sampson deserves to be in because of his college career, but he also won a championship by taking out the Lakers and Celtics in a decade dominated by both. Sampson was a game changer as 7’4″ player that could actually play. Had it not been for injuries, he could have posted much better career stats and maybe won a couple more titles with Akeem the Dream. I don’t know about Bernard King. The guy was a scoring machine, but I always remembered him playing for bad teams.

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