The last week had a lot of discussions whether Reggie Miller deserves to be in the hall of fame. In our opinion, or at least the one from two years ago, he’s one of the top 10 shooting guards ever, and certainly a player who deserves a place in the hall, along the other players inducted in 2012: Don Barksdale, Jamaal Wilkes, Mel Daniels and Chet Walker.
Among player voted in not for their NBA career, Don Nelson, the head coach with more NBA wins than anyone else; Ralph Sampson, a bit of an NBA bust but one of the greatest college basketball players in history; Phil Knight of Nike; he All-American Redheads, known as the female Harlem Globetrotters; Katrina McClain, who won two Olympic gold medals; former Soviet women’s coach Lidia Alexeeva and NCAA referee Hank Nichols.
Mel Daniels, too ill to be present at the ceremony, was the first of the former Indiana Pacers to be presented with a spot in the hall. Daniels played only one season in the NBA, in 1976 with the New Jersey Nets. He played six seasons with the Indiana Pacers in the ABA, winning the league title three times and the MVP award twice, in 1969 and 1971. He averaged 18.7 points and 15.1 rebounds throughout his ABA career.
7-Time NBA All-Star Chet Walker spent 13 seasons in the NBA, playing the first half of his career for the Syracuse Nationals, who turned into the Philadelphia 76ers. He won the NBA title next to Wilt Chamberlain in 1967, later moving on to the Chicago Bulls, playing there until 1975. Walker was a fantastic scorer throughout his career, averaging 19.2 points per game during his retirement season, finishing with 18.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for his career.
Don Barksdale, who passed away nearly 20 years ago, was a pioneer in the game of basketball. He was the first African-American to be named NCAA All-American; the first to play on a United States men’s Olympic basketball team and the first to play in the NBA All-Star game. He played three years in Oakland before the NBA began to integrate, making his NBA debut with the Baltimore Bullets in 1951, later moving on to play for the Boston Celtics. He averaged 11 points and 8 rebounds per game during his four-year NBA career, winning the Olympic gold medal in 1948 (London).
Jamaal Wilkes isn’t usually the first name that comes to mind when people think of the showtime Lakers, probably because he left the team after winning the NBA title in 1985, his fourth NBA title and third with the Lakers. He began his career with the Golden State Warriors in 1974, winning the 1975 title before moving to LA in 1977. Wilkes averaged 17.7 points throughout his 12 year NBA career, making 3 All-Star games, and despite people often remember that Magic Johnson scored 42 points in the title clincher in 1980, Wilkes scored 37 on that night.
Reggie Miller was the main focus of the evening. I just so happened to live across the hall from absolutely, positively the greatest women’s basketball player ever. I’m proud to say I am not on this stage if it wasn’t for you, Cheryl Deann. We rode your shoulders all the way here. So thank you for your help.
Living with a sister like Cheryl must have been tough, but it probably made Miller one of the most memorable players during the 1990’s and early 2000’s, mostly remembered for his three point shooting and clutch performances. The 1995 playoff game against the New York Knicks when he scored eight points in 8.9 seconds, admitting he shoved Greg Anthony and held him on the ground before the steal that set up the second of his back-to-back 3-pointers. The 3-Pointer against the Bulls in the 1998 Playoffs.
Like Magic said, ‘By any means necessary. Yeah, Michael, I did shove you, too. But I’ve seen you do it so many times to so many players, so I figured it was OK.