A Case For The Naismith HOF: Antawn Jamison
With North Carolina legend Charlie Scott’s recent ascent into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, we thought it would be fun to evaluate the candidacy of some other former Tar Heels not yet enshrined.
We selected eight players and will run this series in eight segments. Understand that the Naismith Hall of Fame isn’t an NBA hall, it’s for all of basketball. Dean Smith and Roy Williams, as examples, are in.
So are players such as Bill Walton and Bill Bradley. Walton was one of the greatest college players ever, but aside from a couple of very good NBA seasons, his pro numbers may not measure up to most players inducted. His career was massively affected by injuries, but they are part of the game, and he was a bit overrated after returning from missing a lot of time.
That he won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 1986 averaging 7.6 points and 6.8 rebounds is an example. The media liked him and propped him up, this building up his aura.
Bradley was an outstanding college player and a good NBA player. But his numbers weren’t that great, yet he played for the New York Knicks and the media loved him, too. And one has to wonder if there was some element of bias in his induction, give his post-basketball career in politics.
So, with all of that in mind, let’s look at eight former Tar Heels and their candidacies for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. We will explore one player a day for the next eight days:
(Note: We want your thoughts on each player, as well)
A 3-time All-America, 2-time first-team, 3-time first-team All-ACC, the 1998 ACC Player of the Year in 1998, the consensus national Player of the Year in 1998, led UNC to two Final Fours and his No. 33 jersey at UNC is retired.
In 16 seasons in the NBA, Jamison finished his career with 20,042 points (18.5 average), 81,157 rebounds (7.5) and 1,716 assists. At this time, he’s the only player to ever reach those numbers without making it into the Hall.
Jamison averaged more than 20 points per game in a period noting 11 of 12 seasons, and the year he didn’t, in 2004, he was the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year. He played in two NBA All-Star Games, was on the All-Rookie team.
Jamison was always underrated because he wasn’t flamboyant, didn’t talk much and because he didn’t play on a team that got past the second round of the playoffs. But he should have been in more all-star games, but being overlooked because of the teams he played on and his own personality hurt him in that respect. That shouldn’t keep his body of work, from UNC through his pro career, out of Springfield. He should get in at some point.