If you have been paying attention to the Basketball Hall of Fame (and a lot of NBA fans don’t) you have heard the trickling in of names to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2014. This is a common occurrence, as annually names are leaked ruining the element of surprise and circumventing the anticipation that the other major North American Sports Hall of Fames are able to achieve.
Today at Noon (ET), the Hall has made it official and announced the official class of 2014, and the leaks have turned out to be true. We need to mention this, as last year Spencer Haywood was informed erroneously that he was chosen for the Hall, only to be told later that he wasn’t an inductee. As such, we wanted to wait until the official Class came out before we wrote our piece.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame does not just recognize accomplishments in the Professional ranks as it includes International and Collegiate achievements as well.
Announced today are the four members selected by the North American Committee:
The headliner in many eyes is Alonzo Mourning who enters the Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility. Mourning was a star at Georgetown earning First Team All-American honors and was named the Big East Player of the Year in 1992. As a professional, Mourning was known for his all around game averaging 19.8 Points and 9.9 Rebounds over his career, which was complimented nicely with a 3.3 Blocks per Game average. “Zo” was twice named the NBA Defensive Player of the Year and was a First Team All-NBA selection in 1999. The Center’s career PER of 21.2 is more than Hall of Fame worthy and he was able to reach the NBA pinnacle winning a championship with the Miami Heat in 2006. Miami granted Alonzo Mourning a huge accolade, when his number was retired, which was the first time for the franchise. We had Mourning ranked #3 on our list.
The Naismith Hall of Fame also selected Mitch Richmond who was a consensus All-American at Kansas State. The Shooting Guard was selected to six consecutive All Star Games and made the All-NBA Second Team three times and the All-NBA Third Team twice. Richmond had a 20.1 Points per Game average and had his number retired by the Sacramento Kings. In his final season (2002), he earned a championship ring with the Los Angeles Lakers. We had Mitch Richmond ranked #9 on our list.
The North American Committee also selected two Coaches. Nolan Richardson had a coaching career Winning Percentage of .711 and famously took the Arkansas Razorbacks to three Final Four Appearances and won the National Title in 1994. The second Coach chosen was Gary Williams who helmed the University of Maryland for twenty-two seasons and won the National Title in 2002. We don’t rank coaches on our list.
These four North American Selections are joined by the Women’s Selection, Immaculata University, who compiled a 60-2 record between 1972 and 1974. They won the AIWA all three years.
There were already people chosen to the 2014 Class by the direct elect method. This included:
The ABA Committee selected Bob Leonard, who was the Head Coach of the Indiana Pacers who won three ABA Titles and was in a total of five ABA Finals.
The Contributor Committee chose David Stern, who was arguably the best Commissioner in North American Sports over the past fifty years. Nobody can say that the NBA is not substantially better off than it was since the day he took it over.
The Early African American Pioneers selected Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton who was one of the first black players signed by the NBA. Clifton played sight seasons in the NBA, and had extensive previous experience with the Harlem Globetrotters.
The International Committee went with the first Soviet Union born player in the NBA. Now from Lithuania, Saruna Marcuilionis, had a decent NBA career, but his work in resurrecting the Lithuanian Basketball program earned him this honor.
The Veteran’s Committee chose Guy Rodgers, who was an All American at Temple and part of two Final Fours (1956 & 1958). Rodgers was a two time Assists Champion in the NBA.
Spencer Haywood, who we had at #2 on our list, was not chosen after making it as a Finalist for the second year in a row. Our number #1 selection, Chris Webber, was not named as a Finalist, likely because of the sanctions incurred at Michigan when he took funding from a booster.
The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame ceremony will take place on August 9, 2014.