Note: Portions of this article were posted earlier at the U.S. Pro Basketball Hall of Fame.
With All-Star weekend now upon us, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame has announced 12 finalists for its class of 2013. As usual, these finalists included players and coaches from the NBA, WNBA, and college basketball that were selected by the Hall of Fame's North American and Woman's Committees.
The announcement also included five men who automatically become the first members of the class of 2013 by being selected as Direct Elects by the Hall of Fame's American Basketball Association, Early African American Pioneers, International, Veterans, and Contributor Committees.
With finalists, Direct Elects, committees, male and female professionals and coaches, college athletes and coaches, international players, contributors, and more, the Naismith Hall of Fame represents a hodgepodge of excellence. And while it serves a critical role at the top of the Hall of Fame pyramid, important pieces of the puzzle are missing.
By Ricardo Liberato (All Gizah Pyramids)
For example, while other Halls of Fame also exist that are dedicated to college, international, and women basketball players (and the Belt!), no Hall of Fame exists that's solely dedicated to recognizing the accomplishments of American professionals like those who played in the National Basketball Association, the American Basketball Association, the Basketball Association of America, and the National Basketball League.
In addition, the Naismith committee members keep a relatively low profile when compared to voters for other well-known Halls of Fame. As a fan of Sports Illustrated's Peter King, I always enjoy his columns explaining who he plans to support in the NFL Hall of Fame deliberations. Public debate is an important part of the NFL Hall of Fame's process, but doesn't seem to play a role in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. For example, does anyone remember those lengthy articles written by various Naismith committee members explaining why Spencer Haywood and Roger Brown finally deserve recognition?
While I have tremendous respect for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the U.S. Professional Basketball Hall of Fame, a project I started over at usbasketballhalloffame.com, intends to serve those fans who want to see the missing piece of the basketball Hall of Fame puzzle filled, while also encouraging readers to engage with voters throughout the Hall of Fame decision-making process.
With this in mind, I'm currently identifying 43 voters who will assist in establishing this new Hall of Fame. These 43 will include 13 at-large voters and 30 voters who are each assigned to represent geographic areas associated with current NBA teams. As the facilitator of this project, I will not serve as a voter. All of us involved in this project will take it seriously, but not so seriously that we'll forget about the fun and joy that playing and watching basketball brings to so many people.
The 22 voters who have already been identified include All-Stars of the basketball blogging world and their names are listed below in no particular order. Their bios below are taken from their Twitter pages, websites, and my own observations.
- Ian Levy (@HickoryHigh): Basketball numerica and esoterica at Hickory-High.com. Contributor to Indy Cornrows, The Two Man Game, Hardwood Paroxysm and ProBasketballDraft.com.
- Tammeh Treymayne (@Mrs__NBA): NBA junkie. Manager of The NBA Mistress. Contributor to #HoopsTalkNation, Yardbarker & MSN.
- Dante Nelson (@DanteWrites): Editor of The Sixer Sense and manager of National Sixers.
- Jameson Draper (@jamdraper): Writer for Piston Powered, The Only Colors and Banks Of The Red Cedar. Photoshopper.
- Jacob Frankel (@jacob_frankel): Editor of The De-Thurmond Analysis and writer for Hoop Chalk, NBA247365, and Clipper Blog, among others.
- Aaron McGuire (@docrostov): Professional statistician. Writer at Gothic Gonobili and featured all over the Basketball Blogoshere for his 370-part player profiles series.
- David Lord (@DLord_DBdotcom): Former small college basketballer, accredited NBA media with the Dallas Mavericks for 10 years, NBA analyst for Dallasbasketball.com, and salary cap expert who assists with Larry Coon's NBA Salary Cap FAQ.
- Ryan McNeill (@hoopsaddict): Editor of the incredible online magazine Hoops Addict.
- Conrad Kaczmarek (@conradkaczmarek): Editor of Fear the Sword and writer for Hardwood Paroxysm.
- Avi Saini (@Avi_RagingBull): Editor for Bulls 101, founder of Raging Bull, and writer for Clipperholics and Foot Basket.
- Andres Alvarez (@NerdNumbers): Advanced stats expert. Editor and developer of The Wages of Wins Journal. Occasionally engages in public debate with Mark Cuban.
- Fred Cervantez (@FMCervantez): Lakers and basketball history fan. Manager of a great YouTube channel. Contributor to The Basketball Champs Belt.
- Curtis Harris (@ProHoopsHistory): Writes about the history of the NBA and its predecessor leagues (NBL, BAA, ABA). Contributor to Hardwood Paroxysm and blogger at Pro Hoops History.
- Evin Demirel (@evindemirel): Contributor to the New York Times, SLAM, Sporting Life Arkansas & SYNC magazine. Blogger at The Sports Seer.
- Sean Highkin (@shighkinNBA): ESPN Truehoop blogger for Hardwood Paroxysm, Portland Roundball Society, and Magic Basketball. Contributor to The Classical.
- Ben Swanson, Charlotte Bobcats voter (@CardboardGerald): Managing editor of Rufus on Fire.
- resevoirgod, (@MIA_Heat_Index): Fanalyst of Dwyane Wade & the NBA. Blogger at Miami Heat Index.
- Alex Skov (@AJSkov): Writer/editor for Beats, Dimes, and Drives and writer for Behind The Buck Pass.
- John Flesta (@jflesta): Blogger at Timberpups Blog.
- Paul Knepper (@paulieknep): Blogger at Through the Clydescope and Knicks featured columnist for Bleacher Report.
- Maddison Bond (@maddisonbond): Blogger at Portland Roundball Society and basketball illustrator extraordinaire.
- Clint Peterson (@Clintonite33): A man before his time, the Bob Cousy of Twitter. Blogger at Hardwood Paroxysm, UtahJazz.com, and Utah Sports Net.
Step two involves developing a modified set of rules based loosely on the NFL Hall of Fame's rules and asking the voters to review, suggest edits to, and approve the rules. The current goal is to have the rules approved by the end of June 2013.
Step three will include the nomination and selection of the first Hall of Fame class. I'm targeting an initial class to be inducted by the end of 2013, with the class size and timing still to be approved by the voters. A new class will be inducted every year.
Like my efforts with The Basketball Champs Belt, developing this new Hall of Fame will be a slow and careful process. This hobby is a tribute to a game I love, and I want to ensure that it's done well.
Stay tuned to champsbelt.com and usbasketballhalloffame.com for more details on this effort as it continues to grow, and send any suggestions for content or voters to me @champsbelt or at champsbelt at gmail.