I’ve been very vocal on Project Spurs over the past few years about the travesty of San Antonio Spurs great Artis Gilmore not being inducted into the Hall of Fame. Gilmore, who has been eligible for induction in the hall for well over a decade, finally got his due, although a little too late.
But Gilmore almost didn’t make it in once again. He was ineligible on the primary ballot, but Jerry Colangelo created a ABA committee, since it has been apparent over the years that although it is the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame and not the NBA Hall of Fame, there has been a bias against ABA players.
While Gilmore will gladly accept the honor, when does late become too late?
Magic Johnson opined on the 1992 Dream Team’s induction to the hall as a “bittersweet moment” since the late Chuck Daly was not around to enjoy the honor.
Gilmore thought he was headed down the same road. He told Steve Aschburner last year that he did not expect the honor to come in his lifetime.
While I do celebrate Gilmore’s honor, I still wonder what more-than-deserving players, like Gilmore, are being left out and why.
As I said last year, Gilmore’s induction was a no brainer years ago.
In the NBA, he was a six-time All-Star, made the All-Defensive second team in 1978 and was the career leader in field goal percentage.
After a career like that, you almost have to question the committee. How can a player that accomplished so much on the collegiate level, in the ABA and the NBA, not get a single vote?
You could say he never won a title, but neither did several other Hall-of-Famers, including recent inductee Karl Malone. Maybe it was his low-key, no hype personality, like current Spur Tim Duncan, but regardless of his personality, his numbers and accolades can speak for him more than he will.
While Gilmore’s NBA numbers can stand on their own, if you combine his ABA and NBA numbers, they are ahead of many current Hall-of-Famers and would rank 14th in points and rebounds per game.
According to The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame website, the hall was started in 1959 to honor the game’s brightest stars.
Since 1959, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has honored and celebrated the game’s greatest moments and brightest stars. On the occasion of its 50th Anniversary, we look back as the greatest shrine to the greatest game fulfills its steadfast promise to be the world’s finest sports museum.
It’s nice to know that in 2011, they finally got that one right.