Hall of Fame Rumors

“Part of me hopes I don’t get in because if you aren’t in, people still talk about you. Once you go in you’re kind of the old cow they put out to pasture and they forget about you. At the end of the day, the most important thing is that the cities I played in know that I brought them championships and the teammates I played with know they had the best teammate they could ever have.”
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What’s more, Horry’s seven championships is the most of any NBA player not a Celtic. Horry is considered one of the league’s ultimate winners and played a pivotal part in all of his seven titles, which begs the question, is he a Hall of Famer? Horry says yes. “The crazy thing about the Hall of Fame is if you look at the history of basketball, there’s a lot of guys with less stats than me,” he said. “If I don’t get in, fine. If I get in, fine. Half the guys in the Hall haven’t accomplished half the things I have, so I’m not worried about that.
First I just wanted to get your reaction as head of the NBA Coaches’ Association to the Hall’s decision not to induct Bill Fitch again this year. Rick Carlisle, coach, Dallas Mavericks: Well, we’re disappointed that Bill Fitch didn’t get inducted this year. We know that we need to continue to educate everyone on Coach Fitch’s accomplishments, because they are unique. He’s third all time in games coached with over 2500. He took five different franchises to deep lottery to either championships, Finals, Conference Finals, or playoff success. When you take on those kinds of challenges, you’re going to have more losses. His coaching record doesn’t shine as bright as some other people that are in (ed note: Fitch has a career .460 win percentage), but with over 25 years of longevity and some of the things he did to change the game, for example, he was one of the early guys using video, to teach players and for scouting. He was a pioneer in that area. He’s one of the most well-thought of competitors in the history of our game.
Celtics legend Jo Jo White and his wife Debbie received a phone call from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 1, and for a fleeting moment, they thought it might be a cruel April Fools’ Day joke. White, whose NBA career ended in 1981, had been waiting patiently since then, wondering if people might forget him before he could be remembered forever. But when the Whites realized Hall of Fame president and CEO John Doleva was on the line, they knew this was no prank. “I wanted you to be the first one that I called,” Debbie recalled Doleva saying, “because it is long overdue.”
“The NCAA is still mad at me. The NBA is still mad at me for suing them. Everybody still holds some little resentment. The NCAA sees me and coaches see me, they say, ‘Dammit, I would have had these guys for four years if it wasn’t for that guy right there.’ ” It’s an exaggeration. The NBA and the Hall are tight. All David Stern or Adam Silver had to do was nod in the direction of Springfield and Haywood’s application paperwork would have been misplaced years ago. Jerry Colangelo, the ultimate NBA insider as a former owner and current head of Team USA, championed Haywood’s candidacy and made sure he is invited when USA Basketball makes camp in Las Vegas most summers.
He would not leave the house. In the house, he took the phone anytime he dared leave the couch. Even with the phone in a breast pocket, he was hesitant to use the bathroom, in case the call came at an inopportune time. The call came. Spencer Haywood, at home in Las Vegas last Wednesday, was back on the couch. John Doleva, the president of the Hall of Fame, was on the other end, in Springfield, Mass. Good news. It was April Fool’s Day, and Haywood did not flinch. It was years in coming, maybe even decades, and Haywood did not hesitate. “He said, ‘Spencer, you’re in,’ ” Haywood recalled. “And we both yell out at each other like, ‘Glory be to God!’ What a beautiful thing. Because I had faced the other side of it. He would always say, ‘The cream always rises to the top.’ I’d say, ‘But Kareem is not here.’
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Kentucky coach John Calipari and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dikembe Mutombo are among the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2015 class. The Hall of Fame announced its 2015 nominees Saturday. The Class of 2015 will be announced April 6. Calipari and Mutombo are joined by longtime NBA referee Dick Bavetta, five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway, three-time All-Star Kevin Johnson, three-time WNBA MVP Lisa Leslie, Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan, seven-time All-Star Jo Jo White, four-time All-Star Spencer Haywood, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and high school coaches Robert Hughes and Leta Andrews as finalists.