The best Hall of Fame class ever? It´s hard to say, but when you who are the accoladers, you certainly can´t say the line is a lie. It may well be truth.
Who among all gets to have Michael Jordan, David Robinson, John Stockton and Jerry Sloan together. Well, this year Hall of Fame does.
As it´s best put on NBA.Com
Jordan did it all. His impact on the way the game is played, on the way it’s marketed and on how many people watch it now is immeasurable. He is easily the most popular player the NBA has seen and arguably a more accomplished winner than anyone in the league’s history.
Bill Russell and the Celtics of the ’60s won more rings but competed against half as many teams as Jordan’s Bulls. From 1991 to 1998, whenever Jordan played a full season, Chicago won the NBA championship. And several Hall of Famers from his era will forever wear the “never won a title” tag because of him.
One of those guys is Stockton, whose Jazz were the only team the Bulls beat twice in The Finals. The all-time leader in assists and steals, Stockton was everything you could want in a point guard. The 15,806 assists tell you how much of a distributor he was, but he also had the ability to score in the paint or on the perimeter (his series-winning three in the ’97 conference finals was easily the biggest shot in Jazz history) and he was tough as nails.
Stockton had microfracture surgery at the age of 35 and went on to play six seasons afterward. This is someone who missed a total of 22 games over his 19-year career, with his recovery from the surgery accounting for 18 of the 22.
“John Stockton is the perfect point guard,” Charles Barkley said recently. “There has never been a pure point guard who made better basketball decisions with the ball, ever.”
Robinson is a unique player in NBA history. He was drafted No. 1 by the Spurs in 1987 but didn’t begin his career until after he served a two-year commitment to the Navy, entering the league at 24. He played a position that has been manned by several of the greatest players in league history, but played it with a new level of athleticism and skill.
“He could do things that you didn’t associate with that position, and he could do them at the highest possible level,” NBA commissioner David Stern told NBA.com. “We were always wondering whether they would start him at guard in the All-Star Game.”
And while he needed Tim Duncan to win his two rings, Robinson was doing pretty well before Duncan came to the league. He earned MVP honors in 1994-95, was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in 1996 and had been an All-Star seven times by the time Duncan left Wake Forest. In April of 2004, Robinson became the first player in more than 16 years to score 70 points or more in a game.
Robinson and Stockton, of course, were not the global marketing forces that Jordan was. But each had a tremendous impact on the franchise he played for, and neither ever left that organization.
When Robinson arrived in San Antonio, the Spurs were coming off the worst season in franchise history. He immediately led them to a 35-game turnaround in the standings and to the conference semifinals for the first time in seven years.
“Before he got there, the team was not in great shape at all financially,” Stern said. “It was struggling in a small market in a series of buildings that were not really suitable. He was the glue that kept that franchise together, but also cemented its value as a community asset.”
When Robinson left, the Spurs had two championships and were well on their way to becoming the benchmark for how an NBA franchise should be run. And with his Carver Academy for underprivileged children, Robinson’s influence on the city of San Antonio goes well beyond the games he won with the Spurs.
What do you htink about this Hall Of Fame class?