According to NBA.com, out of the four players, who have been retired for some years or retired recently, only Allen Iverson is a lock for the Hall of Fame. They get no arguments there. Generally, they see McGrady as a second ballot inductee—someone who in due time, maybe a handful of years, gets his chance. But in regards to Glen Rice and Grant Hill, their view is more conservative. As in, they think there’s plenty of reasons why the two should get into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, but plenty more why they shouldn’t.
They couldn’t be more wrong.
Firstly, the HOF grades a player’s eligibility based on more than just NBA success. Stellar international play, historic contributions, and college laurels get nods too. Of course, the whole selection process behind Naismith is so nebulous as to avoid a clear definition of what determines induction. But we’re going to make a case for the HOF eligibility of all four anyway.
They’re ranked by their chances of getting in as well as by how much they deserve it.
Even with an allergy to practice, Iverson remains one of the best to ever do it. No questions asked, no criticisms fielded. As we already covered, he was a gem to watch, had the oncourt competitive soul of Michael Jordan, and could pour them in like rain. He won an MVP, which is almost automatic inclusion into the Hall, made it to the All-Star game 11 times, has the 6th-best PPG ever, and provided a beyond quantifiable impact to the game. He’s in.
How quickly they forget. Yes, injuries plagued the latter part of his career but they did the same for Larry Bird, Bill Walton, and countless others. The other knock is that beyond the injury bug he just didn’t have the competitive spirit needed to watch his stupendous abilities. People say it cost him when it came to the playoffs. He could never get past the first round, they say. But “they” forget that he led lower-ranked teams against far superior competitors, and in cases, stretched the series to seven games.
On top of that, he’s a two-time scoring champion, is a seven-time All-Star, made the All-NBA First Team twice, notched 18,000-plus points, had a statline that has only been matched by MJ and Wilt, was a Most Improved Player winner, and was USA Today‘s High School Player of the Year. He’s in, eventually.
Basketball Reference says Hill’s HOF probability is about 35.5%. Not very comforting numbers. But keep in mind that Artis Gilmore who got into the Hall in 2o11 only had a 25.0% chance of winning the honor.
There’s also the fact that Hill had one of the best beginnings to an NBA career ever. In his second year he posted the following: 20.2 PPG, 9.8 RPG, 6.9 APG, 1.3 STLPG, 0.6 BLKPG. In his third: 21.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.8 STLPG, 0.6 BLKPG. LeBron, Bird, and Robertson are the only players in the history of the game to have better six-year starts. Only 17 players have ever finished their careers with at least 17,000 points, 6,000 rebounds, and 4,000 assists. And Hill is one of them.
Other distinctions: was the co-Rookie of the Year, a 7-time All-Star like McGrady, made it to an All-NBA First Team once and an All-NBA Second Team twice, and won a Bronze medal at the 1991 Pan American Games.
Then you get into college.
What else could you ask for?
Rice gets no HOF love from anyone but he’s certainly deserving.
First, he was an integral part of an NBA championship team. Without him, the 1999-2000 Lakers don’t make it to or win the NBA Finals. That means they also don’t get a three-peat.
Sure, he never quite reached the level of play most expected of him but he played for 15 long years and has logged the highly coveted 1,000 career games mark.
Also on his resume are three All-Star appearances, one of which resulted in an MVP, racked up 18,336 points which is best for 61st all-time, is in the top-15 for 3-point field goals, played almost 35,000 minutes, averaged 40.2% from deep for his career which puts him at number 35 in history (and a lot of guys ahead of him are still active, young, and have to finish out their careers), won a NCAA championship, was the Final Four Most Outstanding Player that year, and holds a number of records in collegiate ball.
It’s sad to say that the people behind the curtain in the HOF realistically won’t vote him in but he deserves it in the long run. Hell, throw Glen Rice on the Bucks right now and they become one of the best teams out East.