Tracy Mc Grady admitted to getting a little misty when he got the call this past Saturday informing him that he’d been elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame, and it’s no wonder. Once you’ve walked away from the game that’s defined your life, Hall of fame induction is for may the last chance at glory, a final moment of recognition for all the hard work. But not all who are worthy get the call, the selection process can be capricious and cruel at times, with some people simply slipping through the cracks of history, but when you give them a second look, you can’t help but think, what’s a guy gotta do to get in? Here are five such men.
Larry Foust, C, 817 G, 13.7 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 20.2 PER, 74.3 WS
Foust was drafted out of LaSalle ahead of the 1950 season by the Chicago Stags, but the team folded, and he instead joined the Fort Wayne Pistons, with whom he made six straight All Star teams as a 6-9 center who was regularly among the league leaders in rebounds, before making two more All Star teams with the Minneapolis Lakers. At the time of his retirement following the ‘61-’62 season, he was 4th all-time in rebounds at 8,041 and 9th in points with 11,198. His free throw was the difference in the lowest-scoring game in league history, as the Pistons beat the Lakers 19-18 on November 22, 1950.
Sidney Moncrief, G, 767 G, 15.6 ppg, 4.7 rpg, 3.6 apg, 18.7 PER, 90.3 WS
From 1981-82 to 1985-86, Moncrief was the best guard in the NBA not named Jordan. During those five years in the Bucks’ backcourt, Moncrief averaged 21 ppg, 5.8 rpg and 4.7 apg, made five All Star teams, five All Defensive teams, and was twice named Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the second-shortest player in NCAA history to rack up 2,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in his career. Moncrief was a nominee this year, but didn’t get the nod.
Jack “Goldilocks” Sikma, C, 1107 G, 15.6 ppg, 9.8 rpg, 17.3 PER, 112.5 WS
Most Gen-Xers remember Sikma as the big dopey white guy on the Bucks of the ‘80s, but Sikma was a force in his youth, making seven All Star teams and winning a world title in his first eight seasons for the Seattle Supersonics while averaging 16.8 points and 11 rebounds per game. He was taken with the eighth pick in the 1978 draft, after putting up a monster season at Illinois Wesleyan University during which he averaged 27-15. He remains the school’s sole NBA product.
Maurice Cheeks, PG, 1101 G, 11.1 ppg, 2.8 rpg, 6.7 apg, 16.5 PER, 103.5 WS
The biggest thing between Mo Cheeks and enshrinement is probably his admittedly anemic scoring average, but when you’re running the point for the likes of Dr. J, Moses Malone and Charles Barkley, scoring isn’t a priority, but when the playoffs rolled around, Cheeks was a ruthless assassin, boosting his scoring average to 14.4 ppg. Cheeks specialty was defense, and few displayed more suffocating tenacity, making 5 All Defensive teams, along with 4 All Star teams. During the 9-year stretch when the Lakers and Celtics were taking turns winning the title, Cheeks was instrumental in the Sixer breaking up the party in 1983, as they went 65-17 during the regular season, and came within a game of making Malone’s prediction of “fo-fo-fo” come true, eventually sweeping LA in the Finals.
Tim Hardaway, PG, 867 G, 17.7 ppg, 3.3 rpg, 8.2 apg, 18.6 PER, 85 WS
Another name on this year’s ballot that fell short, Hardaway’s candidacy is marred by three things: a blown-out knee that cost him a year in his prime; sticking around for two pointless season with the Mavs, Nuggets and Pacers; and some really awful homophobic comments he made in 2007 following the coming out of NBAer John Amaechi, saying “Well, you know I hate gay people, so I let it be known. I don’t like gay people and I don’t like to be around gay people. I am homophobic. I don’t like it. It shouldn’t be in the world or in the United States.” But Hardaway was apologetic just hours later, has since done a great deal of work with the LGBTQ community, and when Jason Collins came out, made a call to offer his support. Armed with one of the great crossovers in NBA history, Hardaway was a force from 1990-91 to 1997-98, averaging 20.3 points, 3.6 rebounds, 9.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, making 5 All Star teams and 5 All NBA teams.
Tuesday on ESPN
Milwaukee Bucks (40-37) vs Oklahoma City Thunder (43-33) @ 8pm
Minnesota Timberwolves (30-45) vs Golden State Warriors (63-14) @ 10:30pm
Wednesday on ESPN
Cleveland Cavaliers (49-27) vs Boston Celtics (50-27) @ 8pm
Dallas Mavericks (32-44) vs Los Angeles Clippers (47-31) @ 10:30pm
Thursday on TNT
Boston Celtics (50-27) vs Atlanta Hawks (39-38) @ 8pm
Minnesota Timberwolves (30-45) vs Portland Trail Blazers (38-38) @ 10:30pm
Saturday on ABC
Los Angeles Clippers (47-31) vs San Antonio Spurs (59-17) @ 8:30pm