Analyzing The Hall Of Fame Eligibility Of Iverson, McGrady, Rice, and Hill

Grant Hill

May 3, 2013; Memphis, TN, USA; Los Angeles Clippers small forward Grant Hill (33) brings the ball up court in game six of the first round of the 2013 NBA Playoffs against the Memphis Grizzlies at FedEx Forum. Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Los Angeles Clippers 118-105. Spruce Derden-USA TODAY Sports

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.

Allen Iverson

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.

Tracy McGrady

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.

Grant Hill

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.

He’s one of the best collegiate players to ever take to court. Won two titles in ’91 and ’92, and then led Duke to the championship game in ’94 without Christian Laettner and Bobby Hurley.

What else could you ask for?

Glen Rice 

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.

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Bogar Alonso is a dedicated student of the hardwood, soccer pitch, boxing ring, and tennis court. He is a regular NBA contributor to XN Sports. His work, involving more than just sports, has appeared on The Creators Project, A&E Networks, XXL Magazine, and others. Follow Bogar on Twitter @blacktiles
13 comments
@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

You can't count all star games for Hill he got nominated cuz he was the best dude in the NBA, not based on his stats, popularity contest.

@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

To me only AI gets in, and gets in on first ballot.

@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

It's the HALL OF FAME ladies and gents the best of the best, no question guys, you guys are putting in everyone and making excuses for them.

@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

Rice ? Nope. Rice greatest feat was bagging Sarah Palin at a Alaskan college BBall tourney back in the day when she was single.

@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

I would have to say no on Hill, but one of the best guys ever, a tireless rehab career. McGrady no way one of the most overrated players ever, lazy as heck, all offense, and only a few years was he one of the best scorers in the league. Now his cousin to me is a HOF, Vince Carter, but not first ballot. AI is a first ballot HOF. One of the most unique players to ever play the game along with Shaq, Barkley, AI is a SG at 6 feet tall and nobody could guard him, never seen another player like that. His touch around the basket was uncanny, so many touch shots, touch layups, so pretty, great hands, best handles ever, excellent jumper, excellent mid range, got mass steals always ripping that passing lane like no other.

champ
champ

Also Grant Hill won a Gold Medal for Team USA (aka Dream Team III) at the 1996 Atlanta Olympics...

Chris
Chris

Rice was one of my all-time favorites. Dude was a stud on the Hornets. Shot 47% from 3 that year averaging 5.6 attempts a game. I was a kid during that 96-97 season, but I remember hearing that he led the league in scoring after the all-star break. I'm probably biased, but I think he deserves it. And what more did he have to do to live up to expectations? Thought he had a great career regardless, had nothing else to prove.

ZULU13
ZULU13

Inversion is a lock. McGrady and Hill have accomplished a lot over a long spand of time. Neither had any personality issues with the league, and they came out and played with virtually nobody. The judgement of a player cannot be the number of rings, or we will be limited in seeing the same teams in the finals year after year, creating a boring league. T-Mac carried a mediocre team through 4 years, as Hill did in Detroit. Mac has 2 individual scoring titles, back to back, and Hill came back from a career ending injury to make his 7th All-star game in 2005. If there ever was a comeback award, Hill would have won that as well. Lastly, Hill has also won league awards by the Commissioner in recognition by the league. Yes MacGrady, and Yes Hill. No question Rice was a force, but was he one long enough to establish himself over the long haul. He played a lot, established a lot of stats, but was he THE MAN, ever? Longevity should make some credit, but never lead a category in a season. Rice, questionable.

@blacktiles
@blacktiles

Have you seen who is actually in the Hall? Their standards aren't exactly all that high.

Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso

I agree. I think we hold up basketball players to unrealistic expectations which have barred some of them entry from the Hall when they've deserved it. Rice will be one of them unfortunately.

@MoultonHawk
@MoultonHawk

TMac lost in the first round every year !

Bogar Alonso
Bogar Alonso

Thanks for chiming in. Agreed with the points brought up. Rice is certainly the most questionable, and probably won't ever make it, but with his accomplishments in college I think he deserves consideration. I don't think the conversation is even needed if just based on his NBA success alone.