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Amar'e Stoudemire Retires. HOFer?

We waited a little bit before we decided to discuss the retirement of Amar’e Stoudemire from the National Basketball Association at the age of 33.  Perhaps it was because it is not know at this time if he will continue to play overseas or because we are not even certain that this will hold.  Regardless, we are going to do that now and ask the question we always ask when we have a retirement of this magnitude; is Amar’e Stoudemire a Hall of Famer?

Coming out of High School as the 9th overall pick in the 2002 Draft, The Phoenix Suns had an immediate star as the big man won the NBA Rookie of the Year Award.  He helped elevate Phoenix to an NBA Championship contender, pairing with Steve Nash forming one of the most devastating pairings in professional basketball. 

Five times with the Suns, Stoudemire would make the All-Star Team and he was named a Second Team All-NBA selection three times and a First Team Selection once.  In 2007, he would finish second in MVP voting to the eventual winner, Kobe Bryant.

Opting out of his contract with Suns, Amar’e Stoudemire joined Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks and was still in superstar form, earning another All Star Game appearance and a Second Team All-NBA nod.  Injuries would however pile up and season after season the 6’ 10’’ Stoudemire would become a shell of what he once was.  He would finish his career with stints with Dallas and Miami.

On Tuesday, Stoudemire signed with the Knicks and announced his NBA retirement, proudly stating “Once a Knick, Always a Knick” (though his run in Phoenix was far superior). 

Although Amar’e has no college resume (which can factor in the to Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame) his five All-NBA selections put him on the black side of the Springfield ledger.  He has good career number with a PER of 21.8 and 92.5 Win Shares, though his relatively low VORP (16.81) might raise a few eyebrows and his career Rebounds/Game are not huge for a man his size.

Stating that, Amar’e Stoudemire is a player who competed in the NBA All-Star Game six times; a number that equates to many as a Hall of Famer, though we aren’t ready to usher him in just yet.

He will be eligible for the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2021 and will likely be placed on the lower end of our top ten of our Basketball List.  With Kobe Bryant and Tim Duncan eligible the same year, Amar’e won’t get in immediately, and this is one case where if he got inducted in his second year or never, the result would yield equal surprise.

Still, we would like to thank Amar’e for the wonderful run and the memories he gave fans in Phoenix, New York and the NBA fans world over.  It was a great career!

6. Max Zaslofsky

When Max Zaslofsky retired he was the third leading scorer in league history behind only legends George Mikan and Joe Fulks.  Zaslofsky was also the youngest person to be named First Team All-League for over 60 years when he was selected at the age of 21 in the 46-47 Season.  This record stood for decades until it was broken recently by future Hall of Fame lock, LeBron James.  Zaslofsky was a 4 time First Team all-league performer and led the league in scoring during the 1947-48 season.  His window may have passed for enshrinement but quite simply how was he not in already?

29. Rolando Blackman

Rolando Blackman is one of the great outside shooters in the history of the league.  A great career at Kansas State led to him being taken 9th overall by the Mavericks in 1981 and his 17,000 career points and an 18 point per game average showed that same ability in the pro ranks.  What is lost is how much of a great team player Rolando was.  He teamed with Mark Aguirre and Derek Harper to turn Dallas into a basketball contender in the 80s.  His two free throws after the buzzer in the 1986 All-Star game while all of the players from both teams watched and laughed was a signature moment for one of the most underrated players of the 80s. 

67. Rod Strickland

Simply put how in the heck did Rod Strickland never make an All-Star Game?  He is easily one of the best ten point guards in league history. Strickland is in the top ten for all time assists and 54th all time in games played.  14,000 points and almost 8,000 assists are pretty good career numbers.  Sure he bounced around a lot playing with a total of ten teams in his career but that just shows how malleable he was.  Strickland was a very good player who knew how to run a team and really knew how to get the ball to his teammates but never really learned how to get along that well with others and never was on a consistent winner; but he should have made at least one All-Star Game.

69. Mark Jackson

Mark Jackson may very well be the Dennis Rodman of assists; and Rodman got in to the Hall being a great rebounder. At number three all time on the assist list behind Stockton and Kidd it seems like Jackson some serious consideration by now; of course his reputation as being one dimensional player does not help.  He was too slow, couldn't shoot and never won.  You would think that being able to run a team and being number three all time in anything should at least get you discussed, Then again he is only number thirteen on assists per game: behind number twelve Kevin Porter who is not getting into the Hall of Fame in any time in the near future. 

71. Willie Naulls

Willie Naulls had decent career numbers finishing a very respectable fifteen point and nine rebound average.  He was a four time All-Star and three time NBA champion and he was one of the best ever to come from college basketball giant UCLA. Amazingly his chances of getting into the Hall of Fame are practically zero as he is basically a forgotten player on those dynasties.  That won’t change anytime soon.

76. Dick Barnett

Dick Barnett led tiny Tennessee State to three straight NAIA titles in the 50’s before becoming a star with the Lakers and the Knicks.  He was on both of the Knicks championship teams.  Barnett had 15,000 career points for “Fall Back Baby” as Chick Hearn dubbed him as he was as infamous for the way he shot his great jump shot (he actually kicked both of his legs out when shooting his jump shot). He was elected in the second College Hall of fame class in 2007, which will likely hurt his chances of getting in the real one.

81. Steve Francis

Despite having the nickname of “Stevie Franchise”, Steve Francis never led his team in College or the Pros to a Championship. It was not that he wasn’t good, as the Point Guard was a three time All-Star who put up decent statistics through his tenure, but he was more known for showcasing his athletics dunks and speed, than his overall game. He was a good scorer, but a little too turnover prone and for a Point Guard, did not always have high assists numbers. Still, he deserves better than to be known as a bad contact in New York, as this man was a former NBA Rookie of the Year.

82. Bob Boozer

Bob Boozer was an unsung and almost forgotten forward who was a two time All-American at Kansas State and a key member of the Milwaukee Bucks championship team run in 1971. Fifteen points a game with eight boards are not incredible but they are solid numbers and his long career should help.  He also sat out the 1959 season playing AAU basketball over the NBA so he could still be eligible for the 60 Olympic Games.  Boozer of course was MVP of the National tournament and led the Peoria Caterpillars to a national championship; that is Hall of Fame worthy isn’t it?

88. Latrell Sprewell

Probably better known for his antics off the court (choking a coach and his complete inability to manage his finances), Latrell Sprewell was a very good basketball player in his prime. A very good two way player, the Shooting Guard constantly improved during his tenure in Golden State, which was until the famed incident with P.J. Carlesimo. He did rebound in New York and made his fourth All Star game, but degenerated upon arriving to Milwaukee and returned to being a pariah to the fans. Had Latrell Sprewell ever lived up to his full potential he may have been a fringe candidate for the Hall, but the odds of them touching ‘Spree’ seems distant right now.

92. Michael Ray Richardson

Michael Ray Richardson could very well be the Dave Parker of basketball.  Michael Ray had all the talent in the world and was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career but cocaine got in the way.  When drafted out of tiny Montana with the fourth pick of the 1978 draft he was hailed as the next Walt Frazier as he had those kinds of offensive and defensive skills; and he did not disappoint.  He became the first player ever to lead the league in assists and steals in his second season and the Garden faithful loved him.  However, he was traded to Golden State as compensation for the signing of Bernard King.  Richardson would then be quickly dealt back to the East Coast where he was sent to New Jersey.  He led the Nets to one of the biggest upsets in NBA history in 1984 when they shocked the defending champion, Philadelphia 76ers.  Things soon unraveled after that and Michael Ray was out of the league by 1986 with a lifetime ban.  A four time All-Star and two time All Defensive First Team selection, Michael Ray had the talent to be an all time great.  Sadly, drugs got in the way.

97. Derek Harper

Derek Harper was the partner in crime and backcourt mate of Rolando Blackman for almost a decade in Dallas.  Ironically the closest they ever came to a title is when they were both traded to the Knicks and they came within one game of winning the championship in 1994.  Harper was one of the best all around point guards of his era as he was a great defender who had size and quickness and could both score and distribute.  Harper is widely regarded as one of the best players to never make an All-Star game and when he retired he was 11th in steals and 17th in assists in NBA history.  1,200 regular season games and over 16,000 points don’t hurt his argument either.  Is a solid and consistent career with good overall stats enough to get him in?

103. Bill Cartwright

The image most of us have of Big Bill is getting an entry pass from the wing and throwing his turnaround jumper over some defender and watching it bounce around four or five times and go in; or of course elbowing someone in the face (inadvertently of course) while going for the rebound.  Bill Cartwright was the very definition of old school 70’s and 80’s basketball which carried over to the next decade.  It was also his trade from the Knicks for Charles Oakley that put the Bulls over the top and was the catalyst for the Bulls first three peat.  That seems to be forgotten for some reason.

111. Johnny Green

Johnny Green was an undersized power forward (even for the 50’s and 60’s) who was a hard worker under the boards and earned four All-Star game appearances in a long career.  His career stats are what keep him in the discussion; but it won’t get him discussed much.
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