If you had a golden ticket for the basketball HOF

Make no mistake, to get into the basketball fame as a player you'll need a golden ticket.  The joke of all hall of fames, lines its walls almost entirely coaches and contributors rather than players.  So given that ticket, and forced to use it on a one-time member of the Chicago Bulls organization (in any capacity), who gets in?
My list of potential nominees:

Johnny Red Kerr

He was a three time all-star as a player though that's not quite as impressive in his era where about 15% of the league were all-stars.  He was the first head coach of the Chicago Bulls, but he wasn't a particularly great one.  His greatest case may be as a contributor given what he gave the league as a broadcaster for so long.  His total body of work seems like it merits a mention for the HOF.

Norm Van Lier:
He was a three time all-star, a three time 1st team defender, and a five time 2nd-team defender.  He also had a long term service with the franchise as the pre-game, half-time, and post-game commentator for comcast.   His mantra of 48-minutes of intensity embodies the best of the Bulls franchise and what fans demand.

Bob Love:
Love had a rough start to his career as his stuttering problem prevented teams from giving him a chance to play.   The Bulls ended up giving him that chance and he went on to become a three time all-star, a two time 2nd team all-NBA player, and a three time 2nd team all defensive player.   He presently serves as the Bulls director of community relations. 

Artis Gilmore:
Gilmore makes the best case of any player.   Counting his ABA career, Gimore was an 11 time all-star (5 ABA, 6 NBA). How does a man make it to the all-star game every year in his prime and NOT get into to the Hall of Fame?   

Dennis Rodman:
The worm didn't get in on his first year of eligibility.  He didn't even get nominated.   We talk about playing the game the right way and how there are two sides to the ball, but a seven time 1st team defensive player isn't nominated to get into the Hall?   The greatest rebounder of all time?    5 time NBA champion?    I don't see how the Hall of Fame can be complete without Dennis in there.  He's the exact type of player that belongs there as he stamped such a unique and powerful mark on the league.

Of these players, the only one who probably ever has a legit shot to get into the Hall is Rodman.    Maybe Johnny Kerr, though they gave him some type of hall of fame recognition award without actually inducting him in prior to his passing, so if him dying from cancer wasn't enough to push him in, it'd be a mixed honor/insult to his memory to decide to put him in after he died.

The others have been eligible for so long they'll never get in, and maybe they shouldn't.   There is a line where you don't want it to become the hall of very good.   Except the present hall already is the hall of very good college coaches.  Heck, I'm not even sure "very good" is a requirement.  It might just be "good". 

I'm torn as to whom to use my golden ticket on.   Kerr represents a guy who's largely a contributor.  He definitely belongs in a Bulls hall of fame, but as a player I'm not sure if he was hall worthy, and as a commentator he was only a local guy.   He's the type of guy who maybe deserves it on the body of everything he's done given that he's borderline in two areas.

Love and Norm weren't guys I watched play, so it's harder for me to evaluate them against their peers and make the strong case or to pick one over the other.   Both are guys who may just be in the hall of the very good as well.

Gilmore seems like the most deserving of the guys as a player, seriously 11 time all-star, but he doesn't have as strong a connection with the Bulls, so my bias isn't pushing him as hard.

Rodman is a guy who's only been eligible for a year, and I have to believe the Hall eventually realizes they're a bunch of dumbasses and votes him in while I know the other guys have virtually no chance.

In the end, I'll go with the worm.   It's hard to vote that way as it might be a waste of my golden ticket, but the hall of fame simply isn't complete without one of the best and most unique players in the history of the game in it. 


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  • I'd agree with Dennis Rodman.

    I'm of the opinion that if you're the greatest ever at something, then you deserve to be in the hall of fame. Dennis Rodman was the greatest rebounder ever. In his prime, he was putting up 16-19 RPG. That's amazing. Much more impressive than Wilt's/Russell's rebounding numbers when you pace adjust, and also even more impressive when you take into account Rodman was playing against much better talent than Russell and Wilt.

    I think the same thing will hold true with Ben Wallace when his time comes true. He is pretty much the best defensive post player ever, putting up the best D-Rtg both in regular season and playoffs of any player who played significant minutes the year the Pistons won the championship, and has the DPOY to back it up.

    I think the same thing could be said about Ben Gordon if he is sitting at #1 on the career three point list, he should get in the hall. (No guarantee he does, I think he'll be at least top 3, but Reggie Miller set the bar pretty high, and Ray Allen will have a chance to set it even higher if he stays healthy).

    I think for players to get in the hall of fame, they should either be a superstar or be the best at something. (Perhaps it should even be extended to just being the best of an era, and not just best ever). Things like best three point shooter, best rebounder, best low post defender, best perimeter defender, etc.

    It'd be a shame if Rodman never got in.

  • In reply to awamboldt:

    Rodman absolutely belongs, and should have been first ballot, despite the fact that he was a raging Dbag as a human being.

    Wallace and Gordon are jokes(as HOF'ers) and you debase your credibility by mentioning them.

  • In reply to awamboldt:

    I am surprised that Gilmore isn't already in. There were a lot of great centers in his time, far more than today, but he has to be at least as good as Patrick Ewing or David Robinson. He was a physical force like Wilt or Shaq, but lacked their athleticism.

    The 1977 Bulls made a historic run to the playoffs around Gilmore and scared the pants off Bill Waltons Portland team the eventual champs. I went to the playoff games that year, and that was the loudest building in the history of sports, the entire building shook, nearly the entire game.

    However, if I had to pick only one, it would be Rodman without a doubt. He is one of the singularly unique players in the history of the game. If he had played in Wilt and Russells era he might have averaged 30 rebounds and would have been as big of a star as they were. He would be in my revised top 50 of all time.

    Love, Van Lier, Red Kerr, and even Jerry Sloan(inducted for his longevity as a coach)for that matter were good but not great players. Did Chet Walker ever make the hall, he had the best career of any of Dick Mottas Bulls, even if most of it was with the Sixers.

    Doug, you left out the most obvious guy, although maybe you did so because you think that he will be a lock when eligible in a year or two. Scottie Pippen.

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