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How Would You Fill the “NBA Hall of Relevance”?

Posted by Neil Paine on February 24, 2011

I've been thinking about this concept for a while, but I want to throw it out there for the readers and see what they think...

Everyone knows we already have a Basketball Hall of Fame. But from an NBA perspective, a lot of people think it's broken -- as the argument goes, too many non-NBA people get inducted while great NBA players are left out in the cold. So there's a growing push to create an NBA-only Hall of Fame. How do you stock such a Hall, though? It seems like the other major sports have a pretty clear focus in their induction processes: baseball's hall is largely about longevity and statistical milestones, while football's hall is heavily focused on guys who won championships and/or changed the game.

So what should the NBA's angle be? I want to propose that this hypothetical Hall be about "relevance". As in, who were the relevant players in a given season or span of seasons? Who were the essential names? When you tell the Story Of The NBA, which players would it be inexcusable not to mention? If the Hall of Fame is about celebrating the history of the league, then including the guys that fundamentally shaped the narrative is a pretty good mandate. And if we can tell the NBA's story without mentioning a certain player, it's hard to argue that he belongs in the Hall.

The good news is that you can generate the majority of this list by setting up a basic checklist of requirements. But I want to know what you think those requirements are.

Off the top of my head, here's a basic list of requirements that capture the "relevant" players each season:

  • Top 3 in each season's MVP voting
  • Every Sporting News MVP
  • Every season's 1st-team All-NBAers
  • Every Finals MVP
  • Top 3 players on each NBA champion
  • Best player on Finals runner-up
  • Best player on team with NBA's best record
  • PER leader for seasons 2000-present
  • Win Shares leader for seasons 2004-present

This is the list of players generated by those criteria:

Player How Qualified
Kareem Abdul-Jabbar top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Alvan Adams best on runner up
Danny Ainge top3 on champ
Ray Allen top3 on champ
Tiny Archibald top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Sporting News MVP,top3 on champ
Paul Arizin top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Charles Barkley top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,best on runner up
Rick Barry 1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Elgin Baylor top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Ralph Beard 1stAll-NBA
Chauncey Billups Finals MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Dave Bing top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Larry Bird top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Kobe Bryant top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Wilt Chamberlain top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Maurice Cheeks top3 on champ
Nathaniel Clifton best on runner up
Bob Cousy top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Dave Cowens top3mvp,MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Billy Cunningham top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Bob Dandridge top3 on champ,best on runner up
Bob Davies 1stAll-NBA
Dave DeBusschere top3 on champ
Clyde Drexler top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Joe Dumars Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Tim Duncan top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Kevin Durant top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Julius Erving top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Patrick Ewing 1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Derek Fisher top3 on champ
Larry Foust 1stAll-NBA,best on best rec
Walt Frazier 1stAll-NBA,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Harry Gallatin 1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Kevin Garnett top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,PER ldr,WS ldr,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Pau Gasol top3 on champ
George Gervin top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Manu Ginobili top3 on champ
Tom Gola top3 on champ
Gail Goodrich 1stAll-NBA
Horace Grant top3 on champ
Hal Greer top3 on champ
Bob Gross top3 on champ
Alex Groza 1stAll-NBA
Cliff Hagan top3 on champ
Happy Hairston top3 on champ
Richard Hamilton top3 on champ
Anfernee Hardaway top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Tim Hardaway 1stAll-NBA
Ron Harper top3 on champ
John Havlicek 1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Connie Hawkins 1stAll-NBA
Elvin Hayes top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Spencer Haywood 1stAll-NBA
Tom Heinsohn top3 on champ
Grant Hill top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Robert Horry top3 on champ
Dwight Howard 1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Bailey Howell top3 on champ
Allen Iverson top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on runner up
Stephen Jackson top3 on champ
LeBron James top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,PER ldr,WS ldr,best on best rec,best on runner up
Arnie Johnson top3 on champ
Avery Johnson top3 on champ
Dennis Johnson 1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Marques Johnson 1stAll-NBA
Magic Johnson top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Neil Johnston 1stAll-NBA,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Sam Jones top3 on champ
Michael Jordan top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Shawn Kemp best on best rec,best on runner up
Red Kerr top3 on champ
Jason Kidd top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Bernard King top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Sporting News MVP
Toni Kukoc top3 on champ
Bill Laimbeer top3 on champ
Bob Lanier top3mvp
Clyde Lovellette top3 on champ
Jerry Lucas 1stAll-NBA
Maurice Lucas top3 on champ
Ed Macauley 1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Karl Malone top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on runner up
Moses Malone top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Pete Maravich top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Cedric Maxwell Finals MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Bob McAdoo top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP
George McGinnis 1stAll-NBA
Tracy McGrady 1stAll-NBA,PER ldr
Kevin McHale 1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
George Mikan 1stAll-NBA,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Vern Mikkelsen top3 on champ
Reggie Miller best on runner up
Sidney Moncrief 1stAll-NBA
Earl Monroe 1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Alonzo Mourning top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Chris Mullin 1stAll-NBA
Steve Nash top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP
Norm Nixon top3 on champ
Dirk Nowitzki top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,PER ldr,WS ldr,best on best rec,best on runner up
Lamar Odom top3 on champ
Hakeem Olajuwon top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Jermaine O'Neal top3mvp,best on best rec
Shaquille O'Neal top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,PER ldr,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Robert Parish top3 on champ
Tony Parker Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Chris Paul top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,WS ldr
Gary Payton top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Bob Pettit top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Paul Pierce Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Scottie Pippen top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Jim Pollard 1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
Terry Porter best on best rec,best on runner up
Mark Price 1stAll-NBA
Frank Ramsey top3 on champ
Clifford Ray top3 on champ
Willis Reed top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,top3 on champ
Glen Rice top3 on champ
Arnie Risen best on best rec,top3 on champ
Oscar Robertson top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,top3 on champ
David Robinson top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Truck Robinson 1stAll-NBA
Red Rocha top3 on champ
Dennis Rodman top3 on champ
Rajon Rondo best on runner up
Bill Russell top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Tom Sanders top3 on champ
Dolph Schayes top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Byron Scott top3 on champ
Bill Sharman 1stAll-NBA
Gene Shue 1stAll-NBA
Jack Sikma top3 on champ
Paul Silas top3 on champ
Connie Simmons best on runner up
Latrell Sprewell 1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
John Stockton 1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Peja Stojakovic best on best rec
Amare Stoudemire 1stAll-NBA,best on best rec
Isiah Thomas 1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
David Thompson top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Otis Thorpe top3 on champ
Nate Thurmond top3mvp,best on runner up
Wes Unseld top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Dwyane Wade top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Chet Walker top3 on champ
Ben Wallace top3 on champ
Bill Walton top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,MVP,Sporting News MVP,best on best rec,top3 on champ
Bobby Wanzer top3 on champ
Chris Webber 1stAll-NBA
Marvin Webster best on runner up
Jerry West top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,Finals MVP,top3 on champ,best on runner up
Paul Westphal 1stAll-NBA
Jo Jo White Finals MVP,top3 on champ
Jamaal Wilkes top3 on champ
Lenny Wilkens top3mvp
Dominique Wilkins top3mvp,1stAll-NBA
Gus Williams 1stAll-NBA,top3 on champ
James Worthy Finals MVP,top3 on champ
George Yardley top3mvp,1stAll-NBA,best on runner up
Max Zaslofsky 1stAll-NBA

Who's being unfairly included or left out? What criteria do you think need to be added/subtracted to capture the relevant players?

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53 Responses to “How Would You Fill the “NBA Hall of Relevance”?”

  1. Art Says:

    Neil, I think you should pick some of these yourselves though. I know this is a stats site, and you're trying to find things with stats, but Ray Allen is only in there for Top 3 on Champ (and Top 2 on Champ would probably go to KG and Pierce).
    Dennis Rodman is also in there for the same reasons as Ray Allen. Both of them are sure HoF, but wouldn't make it based on these requirements. Same goes for Ben Wallace (I would definitely call his defense relevant).
    Rondo is in there for best in runner up. While I don't disagree that he was the best Celtic last year, that doesn't mean he's "relevant" enough to be a HoF.
    Baffled Yao isn't on there.
    Derek Fisher is statistically one of the worst players of all time. I'm not calling him a bad player (since he had to play with 2 superstars), but he's a career role player. Steve Kerr is more relevant than Derek Fisher (4 in a row, and one of the best 3pt shooters ever).

  2. Matt Says:

    Hoping this guy will get in someday. JOHNNY “RED” KERR – Contributor (Finalist in 2004, 2005, 2006), a native of Chicago, IL, dedicated more than 60 years of his life to the game of basketball as a player, coach, executive, and broadcaster. A three-time NBA All Star (1956, 1959, 1963) and a member of the 1955 NBA champion Syracuse Nationals, Kerr was one of basketball’s most durable players appearing in a then-record 844 consecutive games. The 1967 NBA Coach of the Year was the only coach in NBA history to lead an expansion to the playoffs in the franchise’s first season. At the Virginia Squires in the ABA, he signed both Julius Erving and George Gervin to their first pro contracts. He served as the Business Manager for the Chicago Bulls from 1973-1975 and as color commentator for the Chicago Bulls from 1975 to 2008. Kerr passed away in 2009.

  3. Jeff Says:

    Alvan Adams in the NBA HoF ? Clifford Ray ? Peja ? Rondo ??? The gatekeeper rules are not tight enough.