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Wednesday, January 27, 2021

Deplorable: Miller not considered for hall

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The ballot for the annual NBA Hall of Fame election has now been revealed and locally there are a lot of people shaking their heads wondering why Reginald Wayne Miller, arguably the most recognizable Indiana Pacer ever, was left off for induction consideration.

After all, Miller is 17th all time in points scored with 25,729, and second all time in three point baskets made, with 2,560.  You can certainly make a strong argument that without Reggie Miller (and former coach Larry Brown in my opinion) the Pacers would never have taken the next step in reaching multiple conference finals and ultimately the NBA Finals in 2000.

Seems like a no-brainer, eh? Hardly folks.

The NBA Hall of Fame selection process is one that leaves a lot to be desired from the fashion in which ballots are comprised to the actual parties who cast the votes for induction. The selection committee is kept anonymous by design, to “prevent” any politics from impacting the voting and in the process eliminate any personal criticism of the chosen few who are voting players in, or for that matter, out.

Currently, the dubious distinction of orchestrating this increasingly laughable charade falls on the shoulders of one Jerry Colangelo, one of the most influential names in the sport today. While his resume contains such impressive credentials as a coach, team executive, team owner, as well as Olympic and international competition, the one thing he apparently does not possess is common sense in terms of evaluating talent and administrating the selection process.

What else could explain the likes of Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes and referee Hank Nichols on a ballot that does not contain Miller’s name? Keep in mind basketball fans, we are simply talking about the ballot for voting here, and not the actual elected inductees.

Leaving Miller’s name off of the selection ballot raises serious questions about the overall process and certainly those casting the votes. While it is not known for certain who comprises the selection committee, I feel it is safe to say it contains a mixture of former coaches, players and owners.

Regardless of the composition of the committee, how can they deny Miller the respect his accomplishments deserve and simply place him on the ballot for consideration? Every player who has scored more than 25,000 points in his career is in the Hall of Fame, and Miller cannot even get on the ballot for a vote to be taken on his credentials for induction?

Something does not pass the sniff test here, and while Miller has had some off the court occurrences since retiring that were embarrassing, he certainly deserves both an apology and immediate placement on the voting ballot.

Colangelo was recently quoted as saying, “there is no politicking allowed by outsiders to insure the integrity of the process.” Maybe so, but it sure seems as if there is plenty of politics involved here internally and it is without question time to investigate the procedures that apply to how the ballot is formed and look to bring in some new individuals to augment what is obviously a sinking ship, one with no accountability and arguably after this debacle, no integrity in my opinion as well.

NOTES: There are those out there who are also making negative comments about Dennis Rodman being placed on the ballot. While Rodman’s flamboyant style and train wreck of a personal life is well documented, his ability to rebound the basketball cannot be denied.

Simply put, once you exclude Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain from the argument, Dennis Rodman was as good at rebounding the basketball as anyone else who ever laced up a pair of shoes.

He certainly belongs in the Hall of Fame, but I doubt conservative voters will allow a man who once donned a wedding dress at a book singing to get in.

The circus otherwise known as the NBA All Star game was won by the Western squad. While the game had the usual array of dunks and fancy passes, the one thing it did not have was any youngsters from low income families sitting in good seats. Look around you and see the number of kids wearing the expensive jerseys of their heroes, and then ask yourself why the NBA has made this an event that only corporate America can afford? Why not dedicate a good number of seats for children who cannot otherwise afford to attend the game? The league slogan for years has been “The NBA Cares.” Obviously, not enough.

Danny Bridges, who thinks the NBA Hall of Fame balloting process has now officially become a laughing stock, can be reached at (317) 578-1780 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.

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