HoopsHype Hall of Fame rumors

September 8, 2013 Updates

Scott Howard-Cooper: John Stockton also here, as a GP presenter. Payton, Kidd, Stockton -- I told Payton there'd better be a pickup game after the ceremony. Twitter @SHowardCooper

One other thing as the ceremony approaches: Schmidt, a star in his native Brazil and also Italy, is at the Hall about 4 and 1/2 months after undergoing brain surgery to remove a tumor, following a similar procedure about two years ago. He said he is in good health – “I’m cured, man” – but also does chemotherapy. “And now, I am spending everything I gained,” he said. “All the money I get. And I get a lot of money. Lots of money, I get.” NBA.com

He has a personality that splashes everywhere and a big laugh to match. Not quite a Magic Johnson shakes-the-walls laugh, but not far off either. Except that Oscar Schmidt is being serious now. He said he would have been one of the 10 best players in the NBA if the basketball world had been different in the 1970s and ‘80s, and he came to the United States. And not one of the 10 best in the league. One of the 10 best ever, “Yes,” Schmidt said. “Anytime. It was easier, because in the NBA at that time it was one-on-one, always. One-on-one, I’m free. If it comes to two players guarding me, maybe.” Insert big laugh. “I would be one of the best 10 ever.” NBA.com

Signing with the NBA at that time would have meant being ineligible for the national team, and Schmidt was not willing to make that tradeoff. The Nets pursued him three years in a row, he said, but no way. After the rules were changed to allow the Dream Team to play in the 1992 Olympics, sure, except that Schmidt was 34 by the time of the historic Barcelona Games. It would be different under the current rules. “Give me two months of practice, I kill everybody else,” he said Saturday at the Hall of Fame, the day before the induction ceremony. Another big laugh. “There was not a price [the Nets could have offered]. There was national team. That’s it. The national team doesn’t have a price. It’s proud. It’s what you live for. And today, people don’t like to play for the national team. That’s very sad for me.” NBA.com

Schmidt was asked what he would have averaged in the NBA and said, “One point a minute. Twenty minutes, 20 points. Forty minutes, maybe 60.” C’mon. Get serious. “Did you see me play?” Schmidt fired back. But a point a minute? “One point a minute at least,” he said. “Do you know how many hours I practiced a day.” Eight, he answered. NBA.com

September 7, 2013 Updates

Arlena can still recall the elation in his voice the day he called to tell her the Indiana Pacers, a new team in a new league, had made him the franchise's first player. "From there," she says, "it was just history." He averaged 17.6 points a game over an eight-year career and led the Pacers to three titles, winning playoff MVP honors in 1970. His name was later cleared in the gambling scandal, but he refused entry into the NBA near the end of his career. He retired in 1975 among the best in ABA history. "The Pacers were the class of the league, and Roger was the class of the class," Julius Erving said in Green's documentary. "He would have been known as one of the greatest players of all-time, but he never got that chance," longtime NBA executive Donnie Walsh added. "The greatest Pacer ever," Reggie Miller said. USA Today Sports

Sunday, after 17 years of waiting, he enters the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Roger won't be there to see it. Liver cancer took him in 1997. Arlena's husband of 61 years, Azariah, won't either. Heart failure, two years back. But Arlena? The woman with the beaming smile and boundless memories and undying affection for the man whose hoops career she and her husband resurrected in their cozy, white home on Shoop Ave.? She'll be there. So excited, she started packing two weeks early, laying out each of her outfits on his old bed. "If the Lord lets me live," she promises, "that will be one thing I'm going to attend." USA Today Sports

September 5, 2013 Updates
September 2, 2013 Updates

Payton wasn't scared of Michael Jordan and earned a reputation during his NBA career as one of the toughest guards ever. The nine-time All-NBA defensive team selection from tough Oakland, Calif., was nicknamed "The Glove" and was a stellar trash-talker, too. With such a gritty reputation, there is no way the nine-time All-Star will tear up during his induction speech into his enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Sunday, right? "Everybody wants to know if I'm going to cry," Payton told Yahoo Sports. "You know what? I'm going to be real with you. I don't think I'm going to cry. But I got to stay away from watching my mom because if she starts tearing up … That's the hardest mama in the world to make cry. If she tears up and cries? I know Pops ain't gonna tear up. If he does it, it's just a bad thing. I'm just going to stay focused and look forward and try not to look anybody in their face." Yahoo! Sports

You say Stockton was the hardest to guard, but what about guarding Michael Jordan? Gary Payton: "Those battles were a little easier. I would have Jordan get mad at me and go back at me. He knew he was really talented and could do whatever he wanted to. But [Stockton] was more of a challenge to me than guarding someone that would talk back to me. When you talk back to me and say something to me it made my game go to another level. John was one who wouldn't say nothing and you couldn't figure him out. He'd keep going in the pick and rolls and he and Karl Malone would score a big bucket. At times I would guard Jordan and get him mad and into other things." Yahoo! Sports

August 27, 2013 Updates

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