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Alonzo Mourning, Mitch Richmond reportedly elected to Hall of Fame

Apr 3, 2014, 8:45 AM EDT

Sears Shooting Stars Competition 2014 Getty Images

The NBA doesn’t have a Hall of Fame, leaving the duty of honoring its all-time greats to the Basketball Hall of Fame – an organization hung up on honoring players and coaches (way too many coaches) based on accomplishments at lesser levels. Its processes are both screwed up and secretive (though maybe the former will get marginally better).

Advice: Never predict who will be enshrined, and don’t dwell on who should be enshrined. It doesn’t make sense and won’t make sense.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t take a few moments to honor those elected in what’s still a huge honor. Five former NBA players were finalists this year, and two were reportedly elected.



Mourning’s career overlapped with a some of the NBA’s all-time great centers: Hakeem Olajuwon, David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Shaquille O’Neal. Mourning might not be in the same class as those four, but he was smaller (6-foot-10, 240 pounds) than them and still held his own, adding to the era’s remarkable pivots rather than falling short of the standard. With a bulldog attitude, Mourning dominated defensively, hit the glass hard and scored strongly inside.

He began his career with the Charlotte Hornets, but when he demanded a huge new contract, they traded him to the Miami Heat. Mourning became the Heat’s first star player, helping to make Miami a cool place to play and possibly laying the groundwork for LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to sign there years later.

Multiple times, it appeared kidney disease would end Mourning’s career, and he even retired in 2003. But he retuned to the NBA, and in his second stint with the Heat, he won the 2006 championship as a role player.

Richmond was a pure and dependable scorer, ranking 12th all time with 10 seasons averaging at least 21 points per game. For a while, he and Reggie Miller vied for the title of No. 2 shooting guard in the world behind Michael Jordan.

As a long-range gunner, Richmond was ahead of his time. When Richmond retired, only Dale Ellis, Glen Rice and Reggie Miller had taken more 3-pointers (3,417) and made a higher percentage of them (38.8).

But Richmond never experienced much team-wide success, at least as a major contributor. He won just two playoff series his entire career, one each his rookie and third seasons as a Golden State Warrior. After that, he made the playoffs only once in seven seasons with the Sacramento Kings and never in three seasons with the Washington Wizards. In his final season, 2001-02, Richmond won a championship with the Lakers as a little-used reserved.

Hardaway, Johnson and Hayood could be elected in future seasons. Each had fine careers.

But with the Basketball Hall of Fame, who knows?

  1. miamatt - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:12 AM

    Very happy for ‘Zo, well deserved.

    I can still hear Dr. Jack Ramsay’s call on a holiday season Heat game… “Alonzo Mourning… with the stocking stuffa!!!”

  2. jayrandle - Apr 3, 2014 at 10:20 AM

    Very excited for Alonzo Mourning…very well deserving…
    But very disappointed that Tim Hardaway did not make it this time around…
    It would have been perfect for Mourning and Hardaway to go in together.

  3. simoneauchristopher5 - Apr 3, 2014 at 11:44 AM

    Richmond is a stretch for HOF. I watched his whole career, good player, but NOT a HOF’er, no way. …Zo deserved it.

    • turkbox420 - Apr 3, 2014 at 12:08 PM

      12th all time in scoring is an automatic invitation to the H.O.F. in my opinion. He was a lethal scorer. I think KJ should be in there already. KJ and Mark Price changed the way the PG position is played imo. I do not think it is a coincidence that KJ backed up Price either, they learned from each other. Maybe they could have traded Ehlo and ran with KJ and Price in the backcourt and beat MJ. Then a few year later getting Terrell Brandon. Wow. But Tim Hardaway, imo, is a first ballot H.O.f`er. Utep 2-step is a move i idolized. People say
      Iverson had the best crossover, but before him Tim did. He was a great defender as well.

      • antistratfordian - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:35 PM

        It should be more difficult to enter the hall of fame. There shouldn’t be an “automatic invitation” just because a player met some random stat. We should not be inducting people every single year. We should be able to go two, three, four years without adding anybody at all.

      • phreakin - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:45 PM

        As a lifer Suns fan, the only thing KJ revolutionized in basketball were hamstring injuries.

  4. jimmymarlinsfan - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:06 PM

    Alooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnzzzzzzzzzzooooooooooooo Mooouuurrrrrnnnnniiiiinnnnnggggg!

    I’ll be there in Springfield when he gets enshrined. Favorite player of all time by far

    • dexterismyhero - Apr 3, 2014 at 3:55 PM

      Will Jeff Van Gundy be hanging on his leg, or will that be you?

      • beach305 - Apr 3, 2014 at 6:18 PM

        The should have that on his statue

  5. sasquash20 - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:30 PM

    I dont think Alonzo should ever be elected into the hof. Good player not great. And his career was never the same after the health issues. Richmond also is very good not great. But basketball hof is a joke any way

  6. antistratfordian - Apr 3, 2014 at 2:31 PM

    Time to start an NBA hall of fame. I’m kind of sick of the basketball hall of fame – and its too crowded with undeserving members.

    • bougin89 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

      Now this we can 100% agree on.

  7. beach305 - Apr 3, 2014 at 4:55 PM

    If Zo, played today I would have liked to see him battle Noah. That would be entertaining to watch.

  8. bklyn221 - Apr 3, 2014 at 8:29 PM

    Think all 5 should be in. Haywood should have in already.

  9. chicagosports2014 - Apr 4, 2014 at 12:24 AM

    much deserved, congratulations fellows!

  10. pukpokito - Apr 4, 2014 at 1:18 AM

    To this day, Tim Hardaway is paying for it. Would have been nice if he went in with Mitch and Zo.He had a brief tenure and success with each in his career.

  11. canadatude - Apr 4, 2014 at 10:14 PM

    Not all is sunshine and roses with Alonzo Mourning. He was also a whiner and a quiter. Got traded, refused to report, paid out his $10 million salary and slithered off to Miami.
    Why do athletes not have to live up to their contracts? If he had any ethics, then just walk away.

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