NBA Hall of Fame System

When you have that bar discussion if Mitch Richmond or Robert Horry belongs in the Hall-of-Fame, remember that answer is probably no. Several once sure-fire Famers aren't guaranteed anymore, not after Dominique Wilkins, 9-time all-star and former slam-dunk champ was skipped from the Hall last year. Gary Payton is in the same boat as Wilkins, and might not get into Springfield as quickly as he might have hoped.

But why exactly did Wilkins get skipped?

Let's get one thing straight: the NBA has a Hall-of-Fame system might just be worse than Baseball's. For some reason, there is no "NBA Hall-of-Fame"; instead we get the Pro Basketball Hall of Fame. The difference in this politically correct age that we live in is that nobody gives a damn about any basketball Hall, other than the one that the pros go in to. Now all factions of basketball greats go into just one Hall-of-Fame, so we notice some other stars, if only by accident.

It's a decent idea on paper, but you know it's a failure when Dominique Wilkins doesn't get in. The most bizarre portion of the Hall inductees is that they elect in everyone, even players who played in the Europe leagues. Of course, Wilkins played in the European leagues, but I guess that was missed somehow in the voting. Why exactly should we care about non-American athletes-I'm pretty sure they don't care about us.

Tell me how a guy named Drazen Dalipagic can get in, and Dominique Wilkins cannot?

Casual fans will say that he might not deserve to get in because he never won a ring. Of course, that argument has to be nullified when you sit down and realize that Darko Milicic, Isaiah Rider and Tyrone Lue all have rings. Are you going to award a guy who's the 12th man on a championship team more than a great player who stuck with one lousy team? If you did, then welcome to the Hall Will Purdue.

There is but one feasible possibility that Wilkins is not inducted in Springfield right now: he didn't finish with a legacy. Reggie Miller didn't win a title, but he was great up to his final playoff appearance. That's why he's a lot safer to get in than Dominique or Gary Payton. 'Nique finished his career very sloppily.

In his final 4 seasons, Wilkins played for 5 teams over a span of 6 years. Dominique missed the entire 95-96 and 97-98 seasons, playing time in Europe when he wasn't interested in other teams offers. While his stats were just as great with the Clippers, Celtics and Spurs as they were with Atlanta, fans just couldn't get over him in a Magic jersey.

Payton is the same.

His career essentially ended when he left Seattle. Spending his last years with the Bucks, Lakers, Celtics and Heat is no legacy. He too didn't win a ring, although we'll have to wait and see on this year. I'd like to see him get in, but not before Dominique Wilkins, the human highlight film, gets in.

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By: David Pincus

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