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Basketball Hall of Fame releases initial list for 2022 class

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Basketball Hall of Fame releases initial list for 2022 class (AP file photo)

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has begun the process of finding their Class of 2022.

As often happens with sports Halls of Fame, there’s an ebb and flow regarding the influx of new candidates. Just a couple of years ago, we saw perhaps the biggest powerhouse collection of first-timers in Hall history – Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Chris Bosh all hit the ballot at the same time.

Obviously, you’re not going to get multiple no-doubters on every ballot. And this year, we’re looking at a much different group of debuts.

Topping the list is Manu Ginobili. The San Antonio Spurs star played in 1,057 games over 15 NBA seasons. While his raw per game numbers may not be as impressive as those of his fellow Spurs during that stretch – 13.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists – there’s no denying that he was a key component of one of the league’s most impressive post-Jordan dynasties. His postseason numbers are significantly better across the board as he helped lead the Spurs to four titles during his tenure with the team.

Of course, the Hall of Fame is about more than just NBA accomplishments. As an Argentine, Ginobili helped pave the way for the explosion in international talent that would come to the league – he led his home country’s team to a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics, for example. And his introduction of the now-ubiquitous Eurostep to the league would fundamentally alter how the game was played. While one could argue that neither his NBA nor his international resume is enough to land him in the Hall, the combination of the two makes him a strong candidate indeed.

Now, there aren’t a lot of sexy ballot debuts joining Ginobili.

The best of the rest is probably led by Tom Chambers, an icon of an earlier era of NBA basketball. Chambers put together an impressive career line – 18.1 points, 6.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists – in over 1,100 NBA games. There was a stretch in the late 1980s and early 1990s where he was one of the most feared scorers in the league; he would ultimately pour in just over 20,000 points in his career.

To be honest, though, he’s perhaps best remembered for being one of the most unstoppable players in the history of basketball video games – his double pump dunk in the 1991 Sega Genesis game “Lakers versus Celtics and the NBA Playoffs” was automatic from as far back as the three-point line.

The other prominent first-timer is WNBA icon Lindsay Whalen. Whalen is all over the league’s all-time lists in just about every statistical category of note. She was also a four-time champion with her hometown Minnesota Lynx. She’s currently the coach at her alma mater, the University of Minnesota, a position where her first season overlapped with her last as a player in the WNBA.

Other notable names appearing on this initial list include:

Chauncey Billups, who was named All-NBA three times and made five All-Star teams, as well as the MVP of the 2004 NBA Finals as part of the champion Detroit Pistons.

Tim Hardway, a five-time All-NBA and All-Star selection, part of the beloved Run-TMC Golden State Warriors teams of the early 1990s.

Mark Jackson, whose 10,334 career assists place him fifth on the all-time list.

Additional familiar figures include: Muggsy Bogues, who at 5’ 3” is the shortest player in NBA history; defensive stalwart and four-time All-Star Shawn Marion; and former WNBA superstar (and likely future first female NBA head coach) Becky Hammon.

The finalists for the upcoming class will be announced early next year, while the class itself will be announced at the NCAA Final Four in April. The induction will take place in September at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Last modified on Wednesday, 29 December 2021 08:02


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