The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is located in Springfield, Massachusetts, just under 2 hours from Boston. Inside these halls, basketball history is shelved and put on display for all to appreciate and revel in. The greatest of all time are enshrined in Springfield, and while the process is confusing and secretive, members of the Hall will be remembered forever. The Hall should be ready to welcome some new members as the NBA is currently overflowing with talent. The only question is: who are these next to be enshrined?
Active NBA Players Headed to the Basketball Hall of Fame
(Note: These are based on as if each player retired today)
The First Ballot Members
The Hall of Fame voting can be weird at times, but these players will get in on their very first time on the ballot without a question.
Tim Duncan is the greatest power forward to ever play the game of basketball (Sorry Karl Malone). “The Big Fundamental” has been the league’s preeminent post player since the early 2000’s. Capturing five NBA Championships and two NBA MVP’s, Duncan has as much hardware as anybody ever entering the Hall. Another thing to remember is that the Hall voters also recognize college and international achievements, and Duncan adds to his horde of trophies with a Naismith Men’s College Player of the Year award, along with a Bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics.
Kobe Bryant will be remembered as a cold blooded killer, with a dynamite turnaround fade away, and a hunger to win that almost no other player in history has had before. The “Black Mamba” has won five NBA Championships, one NBA MVP award, and two Gold Medals from the 2008 and 2012 United States Men’s Basketball National Team.
Kevin Garnett revolutionized how the game was played as a power forward. Garnett would dribble the ball up the court and shoot it from as far out as near the three point line. He was also one of the best defenders in recent memory. Garnett is the mold that all teams and coaches want their power forwards to be today. Garnett is currently about to finish his career with one NBA Championship, the 2004 NBA MVP award, and one Gold Medal in the 2000 Summer Olympics.
LeBron James is a man that needs no introduction. He has two NBA Championship trophies, four MVP trophies, two gold medals, and one bronze medal. Additionally, he holds the record for nearly every “fastest to ____” statistic category. James can expect to be welcomed into Springfield with open arms when he decides to hang up the sneakers.
Dirk Nowitzki is regarded by many as the greatest European player to ever play the game. Nowitzki, along with Garnett, revolutionized the power forward position, basically creating the “stretch 4” position. Nowitzki is a one time NBA Champion, one time NBA MVP, and is the face of German basketball.
Dwyane Wade is an absolute monster who has been a dominant player for the past decade. “Flash” has used his tremendous athleticism to slash his way to the basket and to defend the perimeter very fiercely. Wade has some impressive hardware with him as he boasts three NBA Championships, one Finals MVP, and one gold medal in Olympic play.
Ray Allen has almost been done a disservice by becoming the NBA’s greatest three point shooter. Allen has become such an incredible three point shooter that some fans will remember him for this only, and not the vast offensive game he showcased earlier in his career. Allen is the all-time leader in three pointers made, a two time NBA Champion, and has an Olympic Gold Medal from the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
The No Doubters
This group of players is a group that will eventually make the Hall, but it is wavering if they will make it on their first appearance on the ballot.
Chris Paul has been dubbed as the “Point God” in recent years by some. Paul has certainly been a wizard on the court while playing for the Clippers and Hornets. Paul has tremendous stats, but he is severely lacking in the postseason.
Paul Pierce is one of the greatest Celtics of all time, which puts him in some impressive company. “The Truth” is an NBA Champion who also has an array of All-Star game appearances.
Prior to his departure from Orlando, Dwight Howard was one of the most beloved superstars in the entire NBA. Howard was the most dominant force the NBA has seen since Shaquille O’Neal, and he has performed like it on both ends. Howard’s inability to win anything in the postseason is the only thing keeping him away from being a first balloter.
Generally, two-time MVP will make the Hall of Fame on the first try, but Nash is an interesting case. Playing in the “Seven Seconds or Less” offense in Phoenix, Nash racked up points and assists in a very quick manner. Nash never won anything on the big stage, and that is what will ultimately hold him back.
Chris Bosh is a two time NBA Champion, so surely he will be a first balloter, right? Not so fast, my friend. Bosh has the hardware, but as the third best player on the Miami Heat, he never really carried the team.
Vince Carter is hands down the greatest dunker to ever pick up a basketball. Carter could soar and score in a multitude of ways, but due to never winning a ring, Carter can expect to wait a few years after his eligibility begins.
One of the most fun “What If?” cases in basketball, Tracy McGrady, when healthy, was one of the league’s five best players. McGrady never had a great supporting cast and had reoccurring injuries throughout his career. Injuries and postseason shortcomings will keep McGrady out for a few years.
Manu Ginobili is one of the craftiest players to ever play the game. The Argentinian has won five NBA Championships, but he has been the third option for most of those. His international impact is huge, but Ginoblii will have to wait to have his number called for the Hall.
Carmelo Anthony is one of the most polarizing characters in the NBA. Anthony can score with anybody, but due to his poor defensive tendencies and postseason struggles, Anthony isn’t a first ballot type of player. If he can win a ring and be the Finals MVP, Anthony will work his way up.
The only reason why Durant isn’t a first balloter yet is because he is still yet to hit his prime. That is a terrifying thought, as Durant already has an MVP and multiple scoring titles. Durant can expect to become a first balloter in the coming years, especially if he wins a title.
Pau Gasol is a two time NBA Champion and is the face of the NBA in Spain. Gasol has been putting fear in opposing big men for over a decade, and he is still going strong in Chicago. Gasol is one of the greatest international players of all time, and is one of the most skilled big men to ever play the game.
The players in this group have about a 50% chance of making the Hall. But with players like Calvin Murphy and Bill Bradley in, these players can hold out hope.
Tony Parker has been one of the most efficient point guards since he came in the league. Playing with a top 10 player of all time and a top 5 NBA coach hurts his case. Parker seems to be a product of his peers.
Stoudemire has used his incredible athleticism to dunk on everything in sight and provide some great highlights. Stoudemire played in the “Seven Seconds or Less” offense and has inflated stats. Stoudemire also has no postseason success at all.
Randolph may be considered a surprise, but he has been very consistent during his time in the league. If he can capture a title before he leaves his prime, his odds will greatly improve.
Need More Time
These players are simply too young to judge. Also, with all of the quality point guards today, the Hall may raise its standards for what a point guard has to do to get in.
Westbrook is the most athletic point guard to ever play. If he and Durant can win a title, Westbrook will most likely make it.
Derrick Rose is a great basketball player whose body has simply betrayed him. If Rose can get healthy, there is no way he won’t make the hall.
Irving has made multiple All-Star games and has enjoyed international success. If he can win a championship, his case will be greatly improved.
John Wall screams out “Hall of Very Good” player. Wall will always be looked at like a near elite point guard.
Lilliard is already older than Wall and Irving, despite entering the league later than both. An offensive juggernaut, Lilliard will need some rings to make it.
Davis is probably the player who is most likely to make it on this portion of the list. He has the potential to be an all-time great.
One of the last “back to the basket” centers, “Boogie” Cousins has the numbers at this point in his career. An improved temper and winning will do him wonders in his pursuit of the Hall of Fame.
Paul George is a terrific two way player who lost a year due to a gruesome injury. Depending on how he comes back will do a lot for his Hall of Fame dream.
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Main Photo via Ann Heisenfelt