Hall of Fame Rumors

All that “noise” has long ago been dismissed by the 36-year-old Anthony. But it hasn’t been forgotten by his teammates, who have come to adore the player they once worshipped from afar. “I say everybody who was talking, or said something negative about him, they need to apologize, you know?” Gary Trent Jr. said. “It’s Carmelo Anthony. He went through tough times. He battled, stayed resilient and for him to come back and bounce back like it’s nothing? That’s why he’s Carmelo Anthony and why he does what he does.” Added Lillard: “I just find it real funny and disrespectful how people speak on him. He’s a (future) Hall of Famer.”
In 2009, Michael Jordan had to pick a previous hall of famer to give his presentation speech when he went into the hall and he chose you. Were you surprised? David Thompson: Yes and no. I knew how Michael felt about me and how I was an inspiration for him in his career. But there were so many other North Carolina guys in the hall of fame, and I went to North Carolina State. So it was a little bit surprising that he picked me. I was very happy about it and was really honored to be a part of his day.
NBA Hall of Famer Wayne Embry, who was the first African American to become a general manager in pro sports, believes players should use their voices by continuing to play during the current protests while supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. “I’ve always been a proponent of sports being a model of a greater society because we come together from different cultures and different backgrounds and work toward a common goal,” Embry said. “Going ahead and playing now could be a model. I know I would play.
The brother of NBA Hall of Famer Dominique Wilkins is behind bars after being arrested in connection to an assault at his place of employment. Police have accused Gerald Wilkins of throwing an object at a colleague, as well as aggressively chasing the individual with a screw driver. Wilkins then left the location via his car on June 9. He is charged with simple battery, theft by taking, and aggravated assault. Wilkins was also charged for a domestic incident that occurred on June 6, in which he allegedly barricaded himself in the victim’s bedroom. Police say when they arrived, they had to break into the room, where they found Wilkins had poured accelerant and disabled the smoke alarm. He is charged with criminal trespassing and hindering law enforcement.
CEO John Doleva told the Globe the Hall will decide this coming week whether to retain the Aug. 28-30 window, which will begin at Mohegan Sun and then return to Springfield for the induction. Kevin Garnett, Tim Duncan, and Tamika Catchings are among those in the class of 2020. Doleva said the Hall will move the ceremony from Symphony Hall (capacity 2,611), which has housed the event since 2009, to the MassMutual Center (capacity, 8,319), allowing patrons more room for social distancing. Doleva added alternate dates would be over the Columbus Day weekend, Oct. 9-11, or in the spring of 2021. The Hall is not considering a combined ceremony for the classes of 2020 and 2021. “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
One major change for this ceremony is the reallowance of family members to speak live at the ceremony in the inductees’ honor. It’s uncertain whether Vanessa Bryant, Kobe’s widow, will speak at the ceremony, but the Hall will have a representative for Bryant speak on his behalf. In past years, the Hall changed its policy of allowing family members of posthumous inductees to speak live at the ceremony. Instead, they accepted the award with a taped video presentation. That will change this year.
Webber said he doesn’t worry about the Hall of Fame, and Rose agrees. “Webb shouldn’t spend a second worrying about that — it’s going to happen,” Rose said. “And also, it’s well deserved. And it’s the basketball Hall of Fame, so he’ll get in. He should get in solely on his impact with the Fab Five because the Fab Five should be in. If you just took his high school and his pro (career), he should be in.”
Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections
“No. 1, the NCAA doesn’t own (the) Fab Five — Isiah Thomas taught me this,” Rose said. “The same way the NBA doesn’t own (Detroit’s) Bad Boys, so if that was like ‘March Madness’ or ‘One Shining Moment,’ something that they owned, that’s something they would acknowledge and give love to. When you see highlights of teams going in and out of the commercials, they show teams that didn’t win the championship, so they could show us if they really wanted to. So that has to be a conscious decision, and that’s fine. It’ll happen, and it’s just like him going to the Hall of Fame; I believe it will happen.”
Colangelo said the original dates of enshrinement weekend, Aug. 28-30, and the proposed alternate dates of Oct. 10-12 are “just not feasible” in light of the coronavirus pandemic that has killed over 100,000 in the U.S. and has rendered large gatherings taboo. The board of governors will convene on June 10, he said, to explore spring dates.
Hall of Fame CEO John Doleva emphasized they are not just going to roll this class into the 2021 class (which has yet to be elected). “I do want to make it very clear we will have a separate event for the class of 2020 because of the notoriety of that class and, frankly, every class deserves its own recognition,” Doleva said. “There is a potential next calendar year that we could have two enshrinements.”
“I’ve had conversations with people and I think Webb is undoubtedly a Hall of Famer,” said Doug Christie, Webber’s teammate in Sacramento. “Period. That’s where I stand.” Webber has been eligible for induction since 2013, and after not being enshrined last year, he isn’t bothered by the situation. “The first few years I did, but I know I am one,” Webber told The Athletic last July. “That’s the way I’ve got to treat it and be thankful for the blessings I’ve got.”
Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections
“Webb was willing to sacrifice in a lot of ways and that allowed Peja (Stojakovic) to grow,” Christie said. “That allowed me to grow, that allowed Bobby (Jackson) to grow, that allowed Vlade to grow, with his unselfishness with the passing. “You’ve got (Arvydas) Sabonis, you’ve got Vlade, Webb is right there, and Bill Walton, when you talk about the greatest big men passers of all time. The touch on the passes, the creativity, the sight, the timeliness, also the unselfishness. Sometimes it’s a wide-open jump shot and he’d see somebody cutting by and he just hits them and they get a layup. It just keeps the game free. Also, his ability to communicate on the floor I thought was underrated.”
“I think the legacy I left for the game is there. But who is it to decide? Who is making the decisions? What do they base it off of. If you look at all the numbers, to me, I should be a shoo-in. Should I not?” Marion asked. “What am I supposed to do? What am I not supposed to do? It’s out of my control. I know it’s a political thing. It’s a lot more other stuff going on. But certain things, you earn that. I earned that.”
Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections
Charles Barkley isn’t putting LeBron James and Kobe Bryant into the elite of the elite in NBA history. The Hall of Famer left the two modern-era stars out of his top 5 NBA players of all-time when asked what his list would be during an appearance on Kentucky coach John Calipari’s “Coffee with Cal” show this week. “Michael’s [Jordan] one, Oscar Robertson’s two,” Barkley said. “[Bill] Russell, Wilt [Chamberlain] and Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], no particular order after Michael.”
Kevin Love: Just reflecting on the 2020 HOF class and missing the game. Tim Duncan — Best Power Forward Ever. Being in the Western Conference my first 6 years, we had a lot of battles. He gave me my welcome to the NBA moment 4 games into my rookie season. Having that experience and watching Tony Parker drop 55 on us was a lot for a fat white boy from suburban Oregon who turned 20 y/o only 2 months prior. As I’m writing this I’m just realizing it’s his birthday…so, HBD to the 15x All Star, 5 time Champion, 15x All NBA, 15x All Defensive, 2x MVP, 3x Finals MVP, 97-98 Rookie of the Year. I wouldn’t have the success I’ve had in our league without learning from #21. 🙏🏻🙏🏻🙏🏻
One of those highly anticipated interviews is with Pistons Hall of Fame guard Isiah Thomas, who led Detroit to back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990 — the two seasons preceding the Bulls’ first three championships. The “Bad Boys” Pistons teams that included Thomas, Joe Dumars, Dennis Rodman, Rick Mahorn and Bill Laimbeer are renowned as the group that Jordan and the Bulls had to overcome to achieve their greatness. Thomas is looking forward to the release of the documentary series and is hoping that more than the typical narrative about the “Bad Boys” Pistons team is presented.
“When we made the trade for Clyde, I heard a lot of negative responses. I had heard and saw publicly where people said, ‘What a dumb move by the Rockets. You never trade a big for a small,’ ” he said. “And that sort of really bothered me. I just didn’t see a lot of people doing that. Criticizing before it was even proven, it will work or not. If somebody said it years after and we had a big flop, I could understand it. I heard things like, ‘You’re going to be the first team to win a championship and then not even make the playoffs the next year.’ That’s when I said we had doubters all along the way. So, a lot of people say that quote, ‘Don’t ever underestimate the heart of a champion.’ But that’s not how I said it. It was more of a scold. Like, ‘Hey, you’ve got to watch how you project about a team and we did have that special quality.’ That’s basically what that was.”
Tomjanovich struggled physically and mentally as a result of Washington’s right hand but refused to allow himself to be consumed by bitterness, guilt or frustration. He returned to make the All-Star team when he returned the following season and even teamed with Washington for a book with author John Feinstein called, “The Punch.” “We dealt with that,” Tomjanovich said. “I learned a very, very valuable principle that being angry with somebody else does nothing good for the angry person. It’s like drinking poison and expecting somebody else to get the effects. What happens is you get the effects. That made sense to me, so I got rid of that right away. I didn’t think it was something the guy really thought about. Yeah, I wish he didn’t do it but those things happen. And if I wanted to have a good mental health later, I had to let it go and move on with my life. That was good for me to be grateful for the stuff that was coming my way.”

Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections

“I was 26 at the time, number three pick [in the 2006 NBA draft], a really low point in my life, and I got a text from Robert Lara, the Lakers security and one of Kobe’s best friends. He said ‘Hey, what’s your address, I’ve got something in the mail for you.’” Morrison assumed he was getting a magazine from Lara, whom he had a friendship with during his time with the Lakers. “I get the package, and it’s an autographed jersey from Didier Drogba, who was my favorite player,” Morrison said. “I’m a Chelsea fan. It was from Kobe. A game-worn jersey, signed by Didier Drogba, ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’”
“The night he passed, I’m scrolling through, reading everything, and I’m emotional,” Morrison said. “And on Chelsea’s Instagram page, it’s him with Didier Drogba holding up a jersey and it says ‘To Adam, Best Wishes.’ So he went up to my favorite player, got it signed for me without me even asking, and sent it to me when he knew I was low. It’s unbelievable. I still have the jersey. That’s what Kobe Bryant was, man. He was just one of those dudes who understood his own aura and could sense when people were down.” Morrison said he was lucky to play alongside Bryant, a five-time NBA champion, two-time Finals MVP and one-time regular season MVP. Bryant was posthumously elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Saturday.
They are a necessary distraction, in what has been a trying year. Garnett does not have great things to say about 2020, with the pandemic coming when he is still personally reeling from Bryant’s Jan. 26 death in a helicopter crash. “I ain’t going to front, man, since Kobe died, it’s been like upside down. 2020 has been (awful),” Garnett said. “So, I’ve just been trying to maintain and … appreciating some of the small intangible things and actually enjoying life a little bit or trying to and be productive.”
Pelinka argued that Bryant’s legacy reflected something more substantive. Bryant had often reached out to star players with questions on varying X’s and O’s, including Jordan, Magic Johnson and Hakeem Olajuwon. Bryant then became gracious toward sharing that with the next generation’s star players. “He was one of the players I think that led the charge of really reaching out to all-time greats to try to collect wisdom and advice from them,” Pelinka said of Bryant. “He was one of the first players, I think, to really, really tap in to getting knowledge from the all-time greats and to be inspired by them. And to think now that a part of him will live in the Hall of Fame, a part of his spirit will always be there, the inspiration flips I think from those type of players inspiring him to now him being an inspiration to all of them and to all of us.”
Garnett said he will not call for his induction to be a ’08 Celtics reunion, but everybody is invited. “That’s not important,” he said Monday. “I wouldn’t dare ask those guys to do that. I’m not a guy to do that. If someone wants to do something on their own, fine. That ’08 team, I have connections with everybody on that team. We will forever be brothers. Nothing more, nothing less. “I don’t want any games. If it’s real, it’s real, if it’s not, it’s not. People who want to show their appreciation for whatever it is, that’s cool. I would never put that on any of those guys. That team, those are bros for life. “That includes Ray.”
Garnett said he’s all for a group gathering, but he wants it to be completely sincere and real. “But if Paul, a lot of guys really want to break bread just dealing with the current state [of the world]. I don’t know. I just don’t think you turn it on like that. I don’t think you are it on and off like that, I’m not really big on that,” Garnett said. “I wish Ray all the best in whatever he’s doing. I wished him [well] when he went [into the Hall of Fame], congratulated him, and kept it moving.
Yet despite all these credentials and then some, Toni Kukoc has yet to be named a Hall of Famer. This year was the third in a row that the Croatian great wasn’t inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame after being among the nominees. “Honestly, it means a lot more to me that I played alongside Michael Jordan and won NBA titles,” Kukoc said in an interview with Croatian website tportal. “I have no influence in my induction into the Hall of Fame. People are asked to decide and I’d really like to know who these people are. It’s allegedly unknown who they are because they haven’t been presented publicly. I really don’t know whether or not I’ll ever enter the Hall of Fame. Would I like it? Of course, I would! Well, another year has passed but nothing happened.”
The former three-time champion with the Chicago Bulls said that he prefers to shift his attention to a passion that shares with former teammate Michael Jordan: Golfing. “After all, what am I going to say about myself? But if my former coaches, former teammates, and basketball experts say I am one of the top 3-4 European players of all time, what are we talking about? Maybe they all don’t know what they’re talking about? It doesn’t make sense to talk about that any more… You know, I would rather spend that energy playing an 18-hole golf course.”
Garnett said he will not call for his induction to be a ’08 Celtics reunion, but everybody is invited. “That’s not important,” he said Monday. “I wouldn’t dare ask those guys to do that. I’m not a guy to do that. If someone wants to do something on their own, fine. That ’08 team, I have connections with everybody on that team. We will forever be brothers. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“I’ve been very vocal on my distaste for what Ray did, that was real for everybody that was involved,” Garnett said. “That’s real life. We was in real beef with Miami at the time and very similar to if someone was to go from the Lakers to the Celtics and vice versa. No one will speak on the underlyings of it, but that was a real thing. Miami and Boston. That was a real thing. Yeah, Ray made a decision; I wouldn’t expect Ray to be at anything of mine. And vice versa. If I see him, I’ll speak. I’ll say hello to his family like always and keep it pushing. He knows that decision altered and made us all feel different.”
To be going in with this vaunted class — with Kobe and Duncan — how special does that feel? It’s perhaps the most star-studded Hall of Fame ever. Kevin Garnett: The achievement itself is supremely over the top and the culmination of the things I’ve worked on, the countless hours you’ve put into a craft. It’s something special. The way I came in: Not going to college, taking a real bet on myself and betting on my work ethic and pushing myself night in and night out, being a professional and doing it the right way. Never taking shortcuts. Going hard as I can, you want to be able to look back on it and say that it was worth something. To meet Kobe early, we had a friendship and a real bond. To go up against Timmy and the countless battles, it’s just … I couldn’t put this story, with all the minor details … I couldn’t make this story more compelling than it already is. This is the perfect way to end a dope story.
Storyline: Hall of Fame Selections
You had a rivalry with Tim throughout your career, mostly because of the beast that was the Western Conference and the power forwards across the conference, including him, Rasheed Wallace and Chris Webber. How ironic is it now that you and Tim are going in together? Kevin Garnett: Yeah, man. In the sense of having a career, you never know how long it’s going to go. You don’t even know if you’re even going to have one. So to have one, and be pretty good at it and you can look back at accolades and won some things and most importantly, left your print on the game … Timmy, for me, him and Rasheed were always the pinnacle. They were always the more tougher matchup for me personally. Lot of times going into matchups, I had a lot of upside when I came in. I can say that these two were one of the difficult ones for me.
Pierce and the Celtics defeated Kobe, Pau and the Lakers in the 2008 Finals. However, the Lakers got their revenge on Pierce and the Celtics in the 2010 Finals, when Bryant, Gasol and Los Angeles defeated the Celtics in seven games. Pierce says Bryant made Gasol tougher and “a Hall of Famer.” “We had four All-Stars,” Paul Pierce told Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson on All The Smoke. “He (Kobe Bryant) had two, he had Pau Gasol, but he toughened Pau Gasol up. Cuz that first Finals, we ran through Pau Gasol. Kobe made him a Hall of Famer.”
The Lakers wouldn’t have had that whole era without either of them, and on the same day that Bryant was posthumously inducted into the Hall of Fame, Gasol spoke to Zach Lowe of ESPN about a wide range of topics, including how his and Bryant’s relationship at teammates started with a 2:00 a.m. meeting at the team hotel in Washington D.C. because Bryant didn’t want to wait to start what would become one of the most symbiotic partnerships in NBA history: “It was very early, when I joined the team in Washington D.C. after my physicals in L.A. (following the trade). The team was on the road, I joined the team, I wasn’t gonna play, they had an afternoon game the next day on Sunday. I was not gonna play that game, I hadn’t had a chance to practice or do anything, and Kobe had been texting me from the moment I got traded that as soon as I arrived in Washington D.C., he wanted to stop by in my room and kind of talk to me and welcome me to the team.
“I told him like ‘hey, okay, it’s gonna be late, like 1:30 or so, so you don’t have to. We can wait until tomorrow if you want.’ He was like ‘no, no, no. I’m coming. I’m coming.’ So he came, obviously I was happily surprised and he told me ‘hey I’m very happy that you’re here, very excited, this is great, but now let’s go win a championship.’ “So from the very beginning he really sent a message of what he was going to be like, and what he was about, and the kind of level and mindset I had to be at. Losing, not winning a game in the playoffs, that’s over with. Here we’re gonna go for a championship. And that was really great and unique and incredible from his part, and showed what type of leader he was.”