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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?


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

  1. Panic Says:

    Still no Artis Gilmore! The exercise should be expanded to include the ABA, or at least the ABA after about 1970 or 71.

  2. Paul Says:

    Seems like 'top 3 on champ' is accepting the most players. If you wanted a more selective club, you could either be change to 'top 2 on champ', or multiple 'top 3 on champ's selections.

  3. David Fauber Says:

    Agree with Paul, it looks like "top 3 on champ" is letting in the most questionable selections. Avery Johnson, etc.

    How is the "top 3 on champ" determined anyway, Win Shares?

  4. Anthony Coleman Says:

    Get rid of the 1st all NBA team criteria. Too many 1 year wonders would be allowed because of it. It should be expanded to multiple selections (like 4 or 5). However for the most part I like the line up of names that were produced

  5. Jason J Says:

    Maybe a minimum games or minutes played limit. I'm looking at Rondo thinking "not yet".

    Also being the best player on a team that leads the league in wins doesn't seem strict enough. On a team like SA this year does any individual stand out enough for that one criteria to elevate him to HoF status? Also if the best record is 59 wins and next 4 best are all over 55, how has an individual player really distinguished himself from the competition?

  6. Neil Paine Says:

    #3 - "Best on Best Record"/"Top 3 on Champ"/"Best on Runner Up" were all determined by a simple MVP predictor I whipped up in about 5 minutes:

    p(MVP) ~ 1/(1+EXP(20.7136837 - 0.1791234*PPG - 0.2794647*RPG - 0.3610627*APG - 15.7598814*TS%))

    I wanted a simple way to capture conventional wisdom on how good a player was perceived to be, and what's more conventional than MVP voting? Obviously you could insert any number of metrics for that category, though.

    I'd probably agree about going with multiple "top 3 on champs" or limiting it to "top 2 on champs". Also, maybe it should require 2 1st-team All-NBA picks. I thought capturing the best player at his position was pretty important for relevance, though.

  7. P Middy Says:

    I'd go further. Multiple All NBA selections required. And though it doesn't make much of a difference to the list, Sporting News MVP I'd say is irrelevant.

    And no fatties.

  8. Jason J Says:

    #7 Too many good fatties:

    Shaquille O'Neal
    Charles Barkley
    Moses Malone
    Wes Unseld
    Tommy Heinson

    Actually I bet we could make a pretty good all-fatties team thank to Baron Davis and Bonzi Wells bringing the heft to the backcourt.

  9. Knick with the Knack Says:

    I don't understand why you are limiting the PER and WS leaders since 2000/2004?

  10. Mike F Says:

    Top 10 in MVP voting 3+ times
    First NBA 3+ times
    First NBA Defensive team 5+ times

    I'd like to see who would be pulled.

  11. Neil Paine Says:

    #9 - Remember, this Hall is about relevance, and those stats were obviously not relevant to anybody before they were invented. Hollinger developed PER while at, which pegs its invention around 2000, and Basketball-Reference didn't exist until 2004.

  12. Jason J Says:

    How did I make it past 25 with no BBR in my life? I must have been much less obsessive in my youth.

  13. Neil Paine Says:

    #10 - That would be a pretty small group:

    Player 1stAll-Def MVP-Top10 1stAll-NBA
    Michael Jordan 9 11 10
    Tim Duncan 8 11 9
    Kobe Bryant 8 9 8
    Kevin Garnett 8 7 4
    Scottie Pippen 8 5 3
    Walt Frazier 7 3 4
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 5 17 10
    Hakeem Olajuwon 5 10 6
    John Havlicek 5 5 4
  14. Mike F Says:


    I was saying you had to fit one of the categories, not all 3. But thanks

  15. Nuno Says:

    I know this is supposed to be a NBA-only HO, but IMHO the BAA/ABA leagues should be included.
    BTW, wouldn't you consider someday adding to this tremendously addictive site the NBL? Some of the top NBL players are not in the BHO, and it is unbelievable how some of those players are missing, like Cowboy Edwards, and since we're making "our" HO, this could be a chance to correct that.

    BTW, I find it hard to believe how the NBA tends to forget this ancient league who featured the best teams/players until/during the first 2 BAA seasons.

  16. Owen Says:

    Max "The Touch" Zaslofsky gets my vote. Sounds like a character from a Chabon novel....

  17. Luke Says:

    Good idea, Neil. I've actually been working on a similar project for a while now. Basically I'm combining the NBA's "50 Greatest Players" idea from their 50th anniversary and a Hall of Fame into a "List of Greatness." I'm just inducting the best player who hasn't already been inducted onto the list every year, so that it's one player, one year, and it ends up being fairly exclusive but still has a relatively large list of players. I'd love it if any basketball-reference readers have any feedback for me on the idea. The first few years of results are up on my blog at Thanks!

  18. Devin Says:

    I like this list pretty much as it is, although I think there could be a few changes.

    Adding ABA would probably make sense. Then I think of certain players - like Spudd Webb, Vince Carter, and Nate Robinson who became "relevant" due to the dunk contest. Maybe there should be some credit for winning an all-star event? And what about a few international pioneers, like Petrovic and Yao Ming? If you gave credit to players that won the fan vote for the all-star selections, that should capture Yao and Carter, right? Because if we're talking relevance, Yao Ming and Vince Carter were certainly household names for a decent period of time.

  19. Neil Paine Says:

    #14 - I see. Here's your list then:

    Player 1stAll-Def MVP-Top10 1stAll-NBA
    Kareem Abdul-Jabbar 5 17 10
    Tiny Archibald 0 5 3
    Paul Arizin 0 4 3
    Charles Barkley 0 9 5
    Rick Barry 0 4 5
    Elgin Baylor 0 8 10
    Dave Bing 0 3 2
    Larry Bird 0 11 9
    Bruce Bowen 5 0 0
    Kobe Bryant 8 9 8
    Wilt Chamberlain 2 11 7
    Michael Cooper 5 0 0
    Bob Cousy 0 7 10
    Dave Cowens 1 4 0
    Billy Cunningham 0 2 3
    Bob Davies 0 0 3
    Dave DeBusschere 6 0 0
    Clyde Drexler 0 4 1
    Tim Duncan 8 11 9
    Julius Erving 0 7 5
    Patrick Ewing 0 7 1
    Walt Frazier 7 3 4
    Kevin Garnett 8 7 4
    George Gervin 0 6 5
    Artis Gilmore 0 3 0
    Tim Hardaway 0 3 1
    John Havlicek 5 5 4
    Elvin Hayes 0 6 3
    Grant Hill 0 5 1
    Dwight Howard 2 3 3
    Allen Iverson 0 7 3
    LeBron James 2 7 4
    Dennis Johnson 6 2 1
    Magic Johnson 0 10 9
    Neil Johnston 0 0 4
    Bobby Jones 8 0 0
    Sam Jones 0 3 0
    Michael Jordan 9 11 10
    Shawn Kemp 0 3 0
    Jason Kidd 4 5 5
    Bob Lanier 0 3 0
    Jerry Lucas 0 2 3
    Ed Macauley 0 0 3
    Karl Malone 3 14 11
    Moses Malone 1 10 4
    Bob McAdoo 0 4 1
    Tracy McGrady 0 6 2
    George Mikan 0 0 5
    Sidney Moncrief 4 5 1
    Steve Nash 0 5 3
    Dirk Nowitzki 0 8 4
    Hakeem Olajuwon 5 10 6
    Shaquille O'Neal 0 13 8
    Gary Payton 9 8 2
    Bob Pettit 0 9 10
    Scottie Pippen 8 5 3
    Mark Price 0 4 1
    Willis Reed 1 3 1
    Oscar Robertson 0 9 9
    David Robinson 4 9 4
    Dennis Rodman 7 1 0
    Bill Russell 1 12 3
    Dolph Schayes 0 6 6
    Bill Sharman 0 2 4
    John Stockton 0 5 2
    Maurice Stokes 0 3 0
    Amare Stoudemire 0 3 1
    Isiah Thomas 0 4 3
    David Thompson 0 3 2
    Nate Thurmond 2 3 0
    Jack Twyman 0 4 0
    Dwyane Wade 0 4 2
    Ben Wallace 5 3 0
    Chris Webber 0 5 1
    Jerry West 4 9 10
    Paul Westphal 0 1 3
    Dominique Wilkins 0 5 1

    Not too shabby!

  20. P Middy Says:

    50 greatest get a pass? Nix active players?

  21. Jason J Says:

    #13 - Hakeem and Robinson really stepped on each others' toes as far as making All D and All NBA 1st teams went.

  22. Neil Paine Says:

    #19 - Good call on the 50 Greatest. Not sure about actives, though... You can't tell the past decade-plus of NBA history without including somebody like Kobe, for instance.

  23. Anthony Coleman Says:

    That is it, the gauntlet has been set. It started last year and now it must be created: BBR must create their own pro basketball hall of fame.

    #13. By looking at that list so what is the argument keeping Tim Duncan from being mentioned as equal to Kobe Bryant on career accomplishments? I've actually heard more and more people try and argue this point with me (along with "The Chris Paul" not being the best point guard in the league). Timmy is still mad slept on.

    Anyway what should be the cut off to be invited into the hall of fame? How many All-NBA's, MVP votes, at what not. This wouldn't be a problem for guys like the top 20 super all time greats, but what about the Reggie Millers of the world?

  24. Jeff J. Says:


    You want to omit Shaq, who I believe qualifies in more categories than anyone else?

  25. Grouse Says:

    (1) A threshold question: how many players are in the current HOF in total? How many are in the list you produced? How many SHOULD BE in the hall? When I see the words "hall of relevance," I think of a slightly more inclusive group.

    (2) I'm thinking a scoring system would make sense for some of the awards, so that players with some combination of lesser honor could get in, while omitting players like Happy Hairston.

    This is a quick and dirty idea of what a scoring system could look like, and I'm sure this sort of thing has been done before:

    All star game = 1 point
    All NBA 3rd = 2 points
    All NBA 2nd = 3 points
    All NBA 1st = 5 points
    Best player on a champion = 5 points
    2nd best player on a champ = 4 points
    3rd best player on a champ = 2 points
    Best player on a runner-up = 4 points
    MVP = 10 points
    DPOY = 5 points


    Should be pretty easy to set a cutoff (10? 12?) and then tweak the numbers to get a reasonably sized class.

  26. Jason J Says:

    I like #25's idea. Could even use this to make an inner circle like Simmons suggests by raising the total point count for the "pantheon" players.

  27. Marble Says:

    BaseballThinkFactory has been doing their "Hall of Merit" for years, and while I didn't feel like I had the baseball knowledge to participate, I would definitely be a part of a similar NBA project.

  28. Luke Says:

    I've been setting up a mathematically formula for NBA greatness for a while now and been tweaking it for the last year or two. So far I've got:
    Win Shares = 1 point each
    MVP Award Shares = 25 points each
    All-NBA 1st Team Selections = 15 points each
    All-NBA 2nd Team Selections = 10 points each
    All-Star Selections = 5 points each
    Playoff Win Shares for a championship team = 10 points each
    Playoff Win Shares for a finals loser = 5 points each
    Playoff Win Shares for a conference finals loser = 2.5 points each
    (same stats for ABA accomplishments but at 40% NBA value)

    There's a few qualifying standards to receive full credit, but it works out pretty well.

  29. Ian Says:

    I love #25's idea.

  30. Luke Says:

    Also, if anyone's interested, the top 25 using that scoring system I outlined above are:
    1. Michael Jordan - 934.5 points
    2. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar - 932.0
    3. Bill Russell - 739.6
    4. Magic Johnson - 712.6
    5. Wilt Chamberlain - 712.6
    6. Shaquille O'Neal - 684.7
    7. Tim Duncan - 676.1
    8. Larry Bird - 654.9
    9. Karl Malone - 651.8
    10. Kobe Bryant - 642.4
    11. Jerry West - 584.6
    12. Oscar Robertson - 511.2
    13. Hakeem Olajuwon - 505.1
    14. Julius Erving - 485.4
    15. John Havlicek - 479.1
    16. Bob Pettit - 468.2
    17. Kevin Garnett - 460.2
    18. Moses Malone - 459.8
    19. David Robinson - 450.0
    20. Charles Barkley - 449.9
    21. Elgin Baylor - 416.2
    22. Scottie Pippen - 411.5
    23. Bob Cousy - 402.3
    24. John Stockton - 392.3
    25. Dolph Schayes - 388.2

  31. AYC Says:

    #21 brings up a good point; there are twice as many spots for guards and forwards compared to centers on all-league teams. Something to keep in mind for those who rank players' careers based in part on those awards.

  32. BSK Says:

    If we're really looking at "relevance", than I think the voted-on awards are the best way to go. They demonstrate the perception of the guy during his career. Maybe Iverson was never as good as the hype indicated... but the hype existed. And, as a result, he was a highly relevant player for much of his career. Maybe this is unfair to guys who aren't media darlings or just don't "shine", but if we're really looking at relevance, those guys just might not be considered. How many great players are forgotten because they didn't stand out in one way or another?

    The question begs... is relevance really what we should be looking at? Is that the best term for this hall?

  33. P Middy Says:

    #30 - Now that's a hall I can get behind!

  34. Jeff J. Says:


    "How many great players are forgotten because they didn't stand out in one way or another?"

    Artis Gilmore, apparently

    "The question begs... is relevance really what we should be looking at? Is that the best term for this hall?"

    I don't like Hall of Fame (Bo Belinsky & Eddie Gaedel were arguably more famous in baseball than Kid Nichols).
    How about Hall of Skill, or Players Hall?

  35. BSK Says:

    Jeff J-

    I guess I'm okay with the "Hall of Fame" because we generally recognize what it intends to do. My take on this was that the "Hall of Relevance" was attempting to do something different, namely, discover who was the most relevant. I agree that a strict interpretation of "Hall of Fame" would put in some absurdities over great-but-lackluster players. It may seem like we're arguing semantics, but I do think these things matter.

    How about Hall of Accomplishment? It leaves enough room for interpretation that people could argue in favor of both individual accomplishment, team accomplishment, or some other accomplishment (e.g., Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in MLB) and still requires that the candidate actually, ya know, did something.

  36. Jeff J. Says:


    Not bad, although applied to baseball, it could include guys such as Maris, McLain, Eric Gagne ...

  37. Greyberger Says:

    Artis Gilmore's jersey is hanging in the last arena I went to, so forgotten in some circles maybe.

    We need to get Derrick Coleman in this Hall. His may not be relevant, but his significance is infamously insignificant.

  38. BSK Says:

    Jeff J-

    And maybe they have a place. Obviously, record-holders are a bit tricky, since there is the possibility that their records are eclipsed, which would bring up the question of whether or not they should be removed. I would also think that there should be ways of immortalizing events. Perhaps they do (I haven't visited a HoF), but why not have an exhibit dedicated to single-season HR leaders, with something about the season in which each guy attained the record? You don't necessarily have to induct the guy, but you can induct the accomplishment and recognize all who did it. You'd obviously need to make a determination as to which accomplishments deserve recognition, but isn't that always sort of the case? I would say yes to Maris and no to Gagne (SVs is a stupid stat) and McLain (being the last to do something only because of a shift in the sport itself AND something that was done tons of times beforehand isn't all that special in my book) if we were going with individual guys, but would prefer another mechanism ideally.

  39. Robert August de Meijer Says:

    All-star selections and/or all-star votes.

  40. Greg Thomas, Ph.D. Says:

    The requirements that led to the #19 list look like the best to me.

  41. Jeff J. Says:


    Maybe if Bruce Bowen had ever scored as many as 700 points in any season.

  42. Mike F Says:


    Not to argue Bruce Bowen's HOF credentials, but why should a player who is a scorer, but nothing else, say Kevin Durant's current career, be valued so much more than a player who is a defender, but nothing else, say Bobby Jones.


    I think a HOF should be looked at by era and not throughout the history. You can't compare Bill Russell to Shaq. Most likely if you are to teleport Russell into 1995, he can't guard Shaq and he's not going to pull 30 boards a game.

    If during any 5 year period, you're always one of the top players at your position in the league, you're in.

    An easy way to do this. If you fit one of these categories you're in:

    4 First Team All-NBA (You were the best for a good period of your career)
    5 Combined First & Second Team All-NBA ( You were or just about the best)
    7 Combined First, Second & Third Team All-NBA (You were always among the best)

    I think there should be a bone thrown to 1st team all defense too at some level.

  43. Jeff J. Says:


    "why should a player who is a scorer, but nothing else, say Kevin Durant's current career, be valued so much more than a player who is a defender, but nothing else, say Bobby Jones."

    For lack of 35 points, the "defender but nothing else" scored a thousand points.
    EIGHT times.

  44. Giorgio Says:

    Rasheed Wallace.
    Top 3 in Pistons championship with Billups and Hamilton instead of Big Ben.

  45. David Fauber Says:

    It seems that the idea of those stats is that they take a more in-depth look at the numbers to identify key performers. So whether the stat existed or not shouldn't really weigh in to relevance. (ie the player isn't relevant because us stat-geeks know he had 20 win shares, he's relevant due to the performance that graded out to 20 win shares)

  46. Gabe Says:

    You have Slats on there, so I'm good.

  47. BSK Says:

    Mike F-

    I wondered the same thing about baseball, and I was explained that it largely has to do with limits. Theoretically, there is no limit to how much value an offensive player can contribute. If he can score a million points, he'll score a million points. There is a limit on defense. You can shut a guy down and hold him to zero points, but you can't go beyond that. I do agree that there is a bit of an inbalance in the perception, but on weight, there is just more to what an offensive player can contribute. Or so it seems.

  48. Robert Bradley Says:

    great discussion - to often the bar gets lowered as time goes by and players who were very good for an extended period of time get inducted alongside the very best players, mainly for their longevity.

    as other have pointed out, i would also lean towards all-NBA, top 10 MVP finishes and All-Star Game appearances over All-Defensive as a more compelling case. a great defender like Dave DeBusschere who has a strong all-around game will make it more often than not based on the other criteria, while a player like Dennis Rodman, Bobby Jones, Michael Cooper or Bruce Bowen won't.

  49. Bob Says:

    Hey Neil,

    Any chance you will discuss whether Reggie Miller was snubbed for Hall of Fame. I think he's Hall of Fame but probably not first ballot. For first ballots I don't think there should be any debate but Miller's inclusion is debatable.


  50. Anon Says:

    Neil, I love this, as I do all of BBR's stuff, so thank you for the endless entertainment and keep up the awesome work.

    @28 and @30:
    I just wanted to say that Luke, your top-25 list looks beautiful. In my mind (without doing research), I kind of think there's a "top-28" (in no particular order), and my list would include those 25 plus Mikan, Frazier, and Barry, so your list seems very in tune with my natural idea. I'll be following your cool journey through time on your blog, but if you do decide to post a giant list of the top-100 or whatever and some point, that would be swell. Thanks and keep it up!

  51. 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).

  52. 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.

  53. Jeff Says:

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