Sports Reference Blog

Basketball Hall of Fame Section

Posted by Neil on September 7, 2012

With the Hall of Fame's inductions tonight, just a reminder that you can check out a list of Hall of Famers here... Also, you can select HoF induction status as a criterion in Play Index searches.

12 Responses to “Basketball Hall of Fame Section”

  1. Juan R. Bonilla Says:

    Ralph Samson, nice guy , nice player, not a hall of Famer!!!!!!!!!!!!!.

  2. LaMont B Says:

    I usually don't respond to things like this but I felt compelled to respond to Juan. A good number of players who are now becoming hall of famers in my opinion aren't hall of famers. My definition of a hall of famer is someone who was truly a great player & not just a good player. Also, the hall of fame is also based on their college achievements as well. The standards are not as high as they once were. Chris Mullin is not a hall of famer to me & their are a number of good players who will get in because he is now in. Jamaal Wilkes (who had similar stats as Chris) is now in I feel because Chris got in. I also think he got in so that it could be said The Dream Team had 11 hall of Famers. Ralph Sampson is in because Bill Walton is in. Very similar statistics in college & the pros. In fact Ralph's pro statistics were much better than Bill's. Injury derailed them both from being what they could have been. They are two of college basketballs all-time greatest centers. If Ralph hadn't injured his knee he possibly could have been one of the all time greats.

  3. Eric Says:

    Walton is in is no reason to put in Sampson. Sampson was never the best player in the league at any period, but Walton certainly was the best player for about a year or so. Walton was an important cog in two championships. Sampson was an important cog on one team that went to the championship and lost. Sampson was at best a marginal defender, Walton was all-world defensively (and I am a life-long Rocket fan that saw Sampson at his best).

  4. William Hild Says:

    From what I understand, the Basketball Hall of Fame is NOT just the NBA Hall of Fame. It is to encompass ALL of basketball's history, not just time spent in the NBA. Ralph Sampson was three-time player of the year in college. That alone is reason to put him in the Hall of Fame. On another subject, can anybody explain why Leroy "Cowboy" Edwards is not in the Hall of Fame? His one season at Kentucky he was easily the best player in the land, then Edwards went on to the NBL where he was a 6-time first-team All-NBL, including 3 times as the MVP of the NBL.

  5. Eric Says:

    Then lets put in Sam Bowie, Rumeal Robinson, and Damon Stoudamire too.

  6. William Hild Says:

    Bowie, Robinson, and Stoudamire were not the player of the year three years in a row, which at the time, I believe, was unprecedented. Sampson was one of the greatest college players ever...arguably top 5-10. That's got to count for something in a Basketball Hall of Fame, remembering that it's not just an NBA Hall of Fame.

  7. Neil Says:

    Sampson's college career is overrated. Not only do his numbers not blow you away (, but if you're arguing on the basis of team success, Sampson's UVa squads:

    * Never won a national title
    * Made only 1 Final Four
    * Bowed out early in each of his final 2 seasons (Sweet Sixteen, then Elite 8) despite being heavily favored
    * Lost the most infamous upset of all-time to Chaminade

    I feel like Sampson's college accolades were based more on his sheer combination of size, athleticism, and skills than anything he actually, you know, used those physical tools to do on the court -- to say nothing of his underwhelming, injury-riddled pro career.

    He was the ultimate hypothetical player ("this guy has the tools to revolutionize basketball forever!") who never actually used those tools to anywhere near the effect people believed he could. Yet those same people were so in love with his raw potential that they kept giving him undeserved accolades, up to and including this HoF nod.

  8. Eric Says:

    To top that off Sampson is the ultimate What If. What if he went to a real college basketball powerhouse, what if played with other great talent, and what if actually put more work into his career.

    He was a taller, and slightly more invested version of Chris Washburn

  9. As Fan Says:

    OT, but for some reason I can't sum up stats on the player pages in the playoffs section. For regular season, the sum feature works, but if I try to sum up say playoff per game average from 07-10, I can't do it. I get an error page.

  10. Neil Says:

    #9 - We'll take a look at that.

  11. William Hild Says:

    Neil wrote--- "Sampson's college career is overrated. Not only do his numbers not blow you away (, but if you're arguing on the basis of team success, Sampson's UVa squads:"

    I agree Sampson's career may very well be overrated, but the fact of the matter remains that he was three years in a row named the very best player in college. If there were about 250 teams, each with 12 players, then that means there were about 3000 players, and Sampson was judged the VERY BEST of all of those 3000 players not once, but THREE TIMES...IN A ROW!

    The second part of your argument doesn't hold much value, arguing on the basis of team success. It's not the UVa TEAM being judged, it's Sampson alone. If you're going by team success, then Charlie Silvera of the New York Yankees belongs in the baseball hall of fame because he won, what, 5 or 6 world series rings?

    It's the FACTS about Sampson's career career that must be measured, not our preceptions about him. And the facts are that he was three times the best player in college basketball.

  12. Neil Says:

    Yeah, subjective award voting isn't a "fact". It's an opinion -- a collective, consensus one, but an opinion nonetheless.

    I bring up team success because there are only two ways to assess Sampson's NCAA career: you can either judge him on his individual stats (which I think we can agree aren't really very impressive for a 7-4 guy who was supposedly the best college player on the planet), or you can argue that there's something his individual stats are missing but is being captured at the team level instead.

    If you take the latter tack, Virginia won quite a few regular-season games, but college basketball might have the least-meaningful regular season of any major sport. And in the postseason, his teams came up progressively shorter the older and more hyped Sampson got.

    Being voted National Player of the Year 3 times counts for something, but you also have to look at *why* he was voted that. It certainly wasn't on the basis of individual stats, and if it was because his team won (UVa had the nation's 2nd-best wpct during his 4 years there), that also opens the door to criticize Virginia's disappointing tournament runs.

    As an aside, I suspect they actually voted him POY 3x because it just seemed like a 7-4 dude with those skills and physical tools "ought to" be the greatest player in the game, regardless of whether he actually was or not.