A Case For The Naismith HOF: Sam Perkins?
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 seven players and will run this series in seven 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)
Perkins was a 3-time first-team All-America at UNC, won a national championship, played in two title games, was UNC’s all-time leading rebounder for 25 years, won a gold medal at the 1984 Olympics while serving as the team’s co-captain and was named 1984 USA Basketball Male Athlete of the Year.
In the NBA, he played in 164 career playoff games, including being a key part of three teams that reached the NBA Finals. In a 17-year career, Perkins scored 15,324 points (11.9 average) and grabbed 7,666 rebounds (6.0).
However, Perkins never played in an NBA All-Star game, and while that’s a subjective measure into his candidacy, because there were some seasons he may have deserved the honor, it still will probably keep him out of Springfield.
He was never his team’s best player, even in college. So while his college resume is outstanding and set him up for a Hall of Fame career, Perkins probably came a bit short professionally on earning inclusion.
What do you think?