Hall of Fame Rumors
“Us old-school guys, we don’t like it,” former Knicks and Hall of Fame point guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier told The Tribune earlier this week. “We didn’t have that luxury when I played. We had to play through commercials, back-to-backs, whatever they told us to do. We paved the way for these guys and they are biting the hand that feeds them. The reason the league is so big today is because of the TV money, and now they are sitting out?”
“The one where that crazy dummy Fred Hickman f—ed up my historical [unanimous MVP] so now Curry gets the first unanimous,” O’Neal said. “That bothers me a lot.” O’Neal, now a commentator at TNT, admitted to reporters Friday that he “definitely misses playing.” With his Hall of Fame induction complete, his No. 34 jersey hanging in the Staples Center rafters, and now his statue out front, O’Neal’s legendary status is secure. But the competitive spirit that drove him to punish Robinson and the Spurs, to prove to Abdul-Jabbar that he was a champion, and to butt heads with Bryant continues to seep through. Beneath the jokes and pranks, O’Neal still wants his due.
Mark Berman: #Rockets will honor Hall of Famer Clyde Drexler Sunday as the franchise continues the season-long celebration of it’s 50th anniversary. pic.twitter.com/iLyBmuOHA9 Clyde Drexler: “It’s great to be among the great players that have come through the Rockets organization. It’s a tremendous honor. It’s a true blessing. The Rockets are one of the best franchises in all of sports. It’s a real honor.”
Nevertheless, Jerry Krause always imagined that night in Springfield, Mass., where the gumshoes could symbolically stand shoulder to shoulder at his enshrinement with him. He passed away Tuesday in the north suburbs of Chicago, within a week of when officials might have notified him of his selection into the Hall of Fame before the formal announcement during the NCAA Final Four weekend. At the kitchen table several weeks ago, over that bowl of soup, Krause told me, “I just want to be around if it ever happens, but I don’t know … ”
We had to postpone my trip to Chicago twice, because Krause had been in such agony. He called crying one day, needlessly apologetic because he had taken a bad turn and couldn’t sit for a podcast interview. I never knew Jerry Krause as an NBA executive, only in retirement – through long emails and periodic phone calls. He belonged in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame years ago, but Krause had never been the political animal that he needed to be to gain entrance into the contributors’ wing. He was never one of the boys, and Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo never made it a priority to expedite Krause’s entrance.
For too long, people never saw the generous side of Krause. He never let them. His insecurities, his social awkwardness and the way Jackson and Jordan tried to turn him into a piñata and a punch line took a toll on Krause. On the morning of Jordan’s Hall of Fame induction ceremony eight years ago, I stopped to see Jerry and Thelma in the concierge lounge of the Marriott hotel in Springfield. Soon, an old Chicago sportswriter walked into the room, Jerry recoiled and clenched up like a fist. The writer greeted him with a hello and a smile, and Jerry turned away from him, starting to tremble and mumble about old slights. His wife pleaded: “Jerry, calm down. Let it go.”
When we connected, he asked about the Hall of Fame again, what I was hearing, did I think he was going to get through the final vote and into Springfield. Once again, I told him that I had hoped so, that everyone I respected in the NBA believed he belonged, that merit dictated he was long overdue and deserving. “I hope so,” Krause told me. “I hope I’m still around to see it. I hope my kids and grandchildren can share it with me.”