Spencer Haywood Rumors
Though his best years came in Seattle, the Knicks nominated Haywood for the Hall a few years ago because the Sonics franchise moved to Oklahoma City and has no historical connection. No jersey is attached to the entrance, but Haywood told The Post, “I’m going in as a Knick.’’
“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 flew from Vegas to Indianapolis too, this time without the confusion and the empty feeling at the end. He flew from Vegas to Indianapolis because he had traveled all the other roads before. “I just sat down and cried,” Haywood told NBA.com of his reaction to getting the news. “It was tears of joy. It wasn’t about anything but being overwhelmed with joy. It was like a child being expelled from home and finally your mama tells you, ‘Boy, you’d better come on home now.’ And that’s where I am now. At home. With the rest of my family. All of the Hall of Famers.
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.’ ”