The Basketball Hall of Fame keeps disrespecting one of the NBA’s all-time talents.
The 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame class was announced this past weekend and with all due respect to former stars Vlade Divac, Sidney Moncrief, Jack Sikma and WNBA legend Teresa Weatherspoon, none of those players were as revolutionary or productive as Chris Webber.
In fact, last year’s class, which included Steve Nash, Ray Allen and Grant Hill, would be considered a clear cut above this year’s, but Webber should have made that cut as well.
Weber definitely got snubbed by the Hall of Fame committee and he had a lot of support from social media and his colleagues. Weber could be inducted on just his college career. He was the leader of Michigan’s Fab Five, the team that culturally lit college hoops on fire and changed the course of basketball history. They threw hip-hop culture into the face of mainstream America. From the baggy shorts to the sneakers to the swag to the unapologetic blackness.
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) April 7, 2019
After getting snubbed in his first two years of eligibility, few thought Webber would be denied again, especially when you consider the candidates he’s going against. There’s not a better pure basketball player than Chris Webber on this year’s ballot.
Chauncey Billups, who had his number retired by the Detroit Pistons in 2016, is another deserving candidate. Both were elite players and Top 3-5 at their position at some point. Billups’ numbers are very similar to Moncrief’s, but Chauncey played 17 seasons while Moncrief played just 1o. To Sidney’s credit, he averaged 20 points per game four years in a row. Billups, the consummate team player never did.
Ben Wallace is another player that folks may say got snubbed, but I understand the reluctance to put a guy who was strictly a defensive presence into the Hall of Fame. So does Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Wallace was a defensive monster, emotional leader and a solid contributor to the Pistons Championship team in 2004 — but he is a cut below Dennis Rodman.
I can even understand why some people are hesitant to anoint Chauncey as a Hall of Famer. He was a five-time All-Star, but never made All-NBA first team and played in an era where the combo guard became the typical style of lead guard in an NBA offense. You had Kobe and Allen Iverson and the like.
Despite not having eye-popping stats, Billups and Wallace were a part of a great “team.” Championship players are often rewarded by the Hall of Fame committee, but one title doesn’t make these guys automatic. If Wallace and Billups could have won two or three championships, they’d be considered HOF worthy already.
You have to look beyond their statistics, to the intangibles and clutch gene both players exhibited.
Webber, on the other hand, is a statistical lock without even elaborating on how he also helped revolutionize the forward position and had a multiplicity of skills that weren’t common in big men back in the 90s. Now, you see guys with C Webb’s game all over the league. He was the definition of a franchise player, despite failing to win a title. He made garbage squads competitive and good quads contenders.
His statistical output would have been greater if Don Nelson didn’t try to make him play the 5 for the first few years of his career. Despite the limitations placed on his unprecedented skillset Webber managed to heavily impact his teams. The Golden State Warriors did not make the playoffs during the first 12 years after they traded Webber. In 1997, C Webb dunked, dribbled and dazzled Washington to their first playoff appearance since 1989. They traded Webber in ’98 and didn’t reach the playoffs again until 2005.
When C Webb joined the Sacramento Kings in 1998, the franchise had made the playoffs only twice (1985 and 1996) since moving from Kansas City. The Kings had the greatest run in franchise history, making the playoffs in all of the eight years with Webber. The multi-skilled baller won a scoring title in 2000-01 averaging 27.1 points per game. In 2001-02 he took Sacramento to the Western Conference Finals. The franchise has been a dumpster fire since Webber’s departure, making the playoffs just once in the past 14 years.
Of non-active players to average 20+ PPG, 9.5+ RPG with a 20+ PER, Chris Webber is the only one not in the Hall of Fame.
The rest of the list is extremely impressive. pic.twitter.com/BnE0h4iR6B
— Marc Weber (@MarcWeberSports) April 6, 2019
On top of that, C Webb produced beats for Nas and made joints with Kurupt. How many NBA players have that on their resumes?
For the culture alone, Webber needs to get in.
The honorees that were announced on Saturday in Minneapolis before the Final Four, will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, on Sept. 6.
Also selected this year were NBA players Al Attles, Carl Braun, Chuck Cooper, Bobby Jones and Paul Westphal, NBA coach Bill Fitch, the Tennessee A&I men’s teams from 1957-59 (the first collegiate team to win back-to-back-to-back championships) and the Wayland Baptist University women’s team (which won 131 consecutive games from 1953-58 and 10 Amateur Athletic Union national championships overall).
The respect for basketball history is evident in these selections, but snubbing Webber in favor of someone like Sikma — seems odd and definitely downplays Webber’s impact on the game. It’s an oversight that the committee has to definitely get right next season.