It’s all about the Hall of Fame today, with a few Utah Jazz stories along the way.
The Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2016 was introduced yesterday, and it was a glorious moment for some of the most iconic faces of the game. Among the six players selected, well, let’s just make this a bullet point list:
- Shaquille O’Neal -- probably the most dominant bigman since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, 4x NBA Champion, 3x Finals MVP, 1x MVP (what?), 15x All-Star, 3x All-Star MVP, 8x All-NBA 1st team, Rookie of the Year, NBA’s 50th Anniversary team, 1x Olympic Gold Medal, some rap albums, some horrible movies, I think he also has two Master’s degrees somehow. Without him we wouldn’t have “Shaqtin’ a Fool”. So thank you Shaq for all you did.
Also thank you for this GIF.
- Allen Iverson — 1x MVP, 11x NBA All-Star, 3x All-NBA 1st team, Rookie of the year, 4x Scoring champion, 3x Steals champion, somehow for someone so speedy he showed up late to this event. He sold a lot of shoes and jerseys.
- Yao Ming — 8x All-Star, All-Rookie 1st team, didn’t get out of the 1st round. A great ambassador for the game.
- Zelmo Beaty — 3x ABA All-Star, 3x NBA All-Star, ABA All-Time Team, NBA Rookie 1st team, helped the Utah Stars to their ABA Title in 1971; but more on him later.
- Sheryl Swoopes — First ever WNBA Player, 4x WNBA Champion, 3x WNBA MVP, 3x Olympic Gold Medals. People who don’t even know there’s women’s basketball know Sheryl Swoopes.
- Two NCAA coaches were selected, Tom Izzo (whom everyone should know), and John McLendon. McLendon has over 400 wins, and Izzo over 500. Izzo has the greater coaching resume, with NCAA championships and Final Fours up the wazoo, but McLendon may have had the greater overall impact on the game, after all he was inducted back in 1979 as a contributor as well, in no small part due to his work back with the North Carolina College for Negros. (Times were very different back in the day.)
- Longtime ref Darell Garretson was also added to The Hall this year.
One inductee, the Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, has some with some level of controversy. Yes, he was the owner when they Michael McJordan’d their way to two threepeats. But at least here in Chicago he’s credited more with breaking up those team than creating them — that honor goes to their GM Jerry Krause. And this brings up a very “kooky” thing. General Managers don’t have their own process for being inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. You have Players, Coaches, Referees, Media, and Contributors. Not a lot of front office spots. Those are the real MVPs.
There’s no point in mentioning Shaq on a Utah Jazz site without contextualizing him against that of #strugglemode starter Greg Ostertag. So without further ado:
Yeah, this was a crazy game. Boxscore can be found here, thanks to Basketball-Reference.com. Jerry Sloan also got tossed, because a coach fighting for his team doesn’t mean sweating quietly in your MC Hammer pants. (Yeah, take THAT, Butch Van Breda Kolff!)
Anyway, I love Greg Ostertag. He was under-appreciated for sure. He was a way better defender than we remember and without him taking care of business — like outplaying Hakeem Olajuwon in Game 6 of the West Finals, in single coverage, way back when — the Jazz may not have ever ascended to the Iron Throne of the Western Conference and played in the NBA Finals.
We’re never going to see the #00 retired and placed up in the rafters next to Garth Brooks. And for sure we’re never going to see him in the Hall of Fame. So instead let’s get back on point and show some Shaq highlights.
I just want Rudy Gobert to watch that video before every game.
Anyway, more Zelmo Beaty — who is receiving this high honor posthumously.
Without Zelmo we don’t have a champion in the Utah Stars. Without Zelmo we don’t have a basketball crazy fanbase. And as a result, without Zelmo we don’t have the Jazz in Utah. (NBA signed off on the move from New Orleans partly because of the “Basketball can be supported in Utah” proof of concept that was the ABA Stars.)
All the Shaq stuff has me thinking about the centers in our franchise history. First, how did we ever beat Shaq’s teams? Second, we finally have an athlete in the middle in Rudy Gobert — but I don’t see him being a guy who can drop 40 on teams.
The main thing that pops in this video is all the empty seats. Sad.
So, who is going to be the next Jazzman, or coach, or whatever to be selected to the Hall of Fame? You know, aside from David Locke for his
borg podcast network?