Posted by: Kevin Jones
06/30/11 10:52 am EST

To start off this column I want to congratulate longtime Philadelphia Flyer defensemen Mark Howe on the announcement of his upcoming induction into the NHL Hall of Fame.  He is one of the greatest skaters to suit up in a black and orange sweater and his selection for the Hall was long overdue.

The great news on Mark Howe got us thinking here a Philadunkia about which former 76er is headed to the Naismith Hall of Fame next.  So I want to lay out some evidence as to when the basketball junkies here at Philadunkia will be able to rejoice with the Flyers fans, as one of our own 76ers is inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.  Honestly, there are only two retired candidates worthy of  even being discussed:  Mo Cheeks and Allen Iverson.

I’m going to take a harder look at each of our former superstars’ resumes while they ball’d in Philadelphia and then hypothesize a realistic year the Hall of Fame voters would consider electing them to the ultimate enshrinement.

Mo Cheeks – 1978-1993

11.1 PPG, 6.8 Assists, 2.1 Steals

15 seasons (11 in Philly), 4-time All-Star, 4-time First Team All-Defense, 3 NBA Finals appearances, 1 championship

To the majority of basketball fans in my generation, Cheeks is most known for helping out this poor little girl and her mishap in singing the national anthem(check around the :40 mark). Others may have known him for his head coaching gigs in Portland and with our Sixers. Now Cheeks is an assistant under his close friend Scott Brooks in OKC.

But to everyone older than the age of 30, Cheeks was known as the purest of point guards, steering the ship for the near-dynasty 76er teams of the early 1980’s. He was able to evenly spread the rock around several stars – Julius Erving, Moses Malone, Andrew Toney and Charles Barkley – and was heavily praised for his decision making on fast breaks.

As spectacular as he was one offense, you could argue that Cheeks was the greatest defensive point guard at the time of his retirement in 1993. At the time he was first on the list in steals (2,310) but now ranks fifth behind only Michael Jordan, John Stockton, Jason Kidd and Gary Payton. That’s Hall of Fame company if you ask me.

Outlook:  Cheeks was one of 12 finalists for the 2011 class but didn’t receive the honors this time around. What I do think that will help him over time is how classic of a point guard he was. With all the Derrick Rose’s and Russell Westbrook’s of today’s NBA, voters will begin to appreciate how large of an impact Cheeks had on the game of basketball without ever becoming a go-to scorer.

The problem with the basketball hall of fame is just that; it’s the basketball hall of fame. Every class in the Hall usually has at least two non-NBA guys. Division II basketball coach Herb Brooks of Philadelphia University will be inducted this year as well as the Stanford women’s basketball coach. You never know what kind of wild card you are going to get. Cheeks’ best hope is for Jason Kidd to keep prolonging his career so he doesn’t take up his spot. My guess is that it’ll take Cheeks at least another four years before he gets his due.


Allen Iverson – 1996-2010  

26.7 PPG, 6.2 Assists, 2.2 Steals

14 seasons (10.5 in Philly), 11-time All-Star, 4-time NBA Scoring Champ, 3-time All-NBA First Team, 3-time All-NBA Second Team, Rookie of the Year (1997), MVP (2001), 2-time All-Star Game MVP, 1 NBA Finals appearance.

The moment he made Michael Jordan look foolish during his rookie season, Allen Iverson was crowned as the successor to MJ’s throne. And maybe if the 76ers front office could’ve gotten him a Scottie Pippen we would be talking about his legacy quite differently today. Regardless, ‘The Answer’ is the most talented basketball player to ever don a 76er jersey. Four NBA scoring titles in the midst of Shaq’s dominance may make Iverson the best scoring guard of all-time…outside of MJ.

His steal numbers are right up there with Mo Cheeks too. There are dozens and dozens of highlights where AI is going in all alone for an easy layup after picking a player’s pocket. For as dazzling as he was on the basketball court, legal and attitude problems marred a majority of Iverson’s career.

Outlook: Will voters take into account his pathetic relationships with most NBA-related individuals? Or will they remember the Iverson who carried the entire Sixers organization on his tiny back in the 2001 run to the NBA title? It’s hard to say. And his eligibility for getting considered to the hall may now even be delayed as mulls another comeback; that is if any team wants his services.

In my opinion he has to be a first ballot member. When Michael Jordan retired, Iverson and Shaq and maybe Vince Carter were the three emerging faces of the new era. Iverson kept fan interest afloat during a dark age for the league. He should be rewarded for his efforts, as selfish as they may have been.


8 Responses to “HALL OF FAMERS?”

  1. Sloetry
    30. June 2011 at 12:03

    I think Kobe might have something to say about the best scoring guard after MJ! Not sure too about him being the most talented Sixer. I’m a big AI fan, but how do you define talent? Not saying you’re wrong either, it’s just a bold statement. Moses, Doc, and Charles certainly had a lot.

  2. John mcgray
    30. June 2011 at 16:15

    Iverson is garbage. Nobody cares about him, he has NO RINGS. At the end of tje day he didnt deliver.

  3. Frank
    30. June 2011 at 16:26

    AI is crazy talented, but how is Wilt not the most talented to ever don a 76ers jersey. He’s the only 76er in the conversation of greatest of all-time

  4. chris
    30. June 2011 at 16:26

    “When Michael Jordan retired, Iverson and Shaq and maybe Vince Carter were the three emerging faces of the new era.”

    This a a joke right?? Vince Carter LOL, try Kobe!

  5. brian
    30. June 2011 at 21:21

    AI didn’t carry the whole team on his back in 2001. It was the other way around on the defensive end. Eric Snow, Tyrone Hill, George Lynch, Mutombo and Mckie were carrying AI. They didnt get to the finals simply because AI scored a lot of points.

  6. tk
    1. July 2011 at 07:54

    without a doubt he belongs in the hall.

    if we are simply looking at the individual accomplishments of players in gauging their acceptance into the hall, winning the nba mvp is the highest individual achievement of them all. at a certain point of time, he was anointed the best player in the planet’s most competitive league.

    his ability to score from everywhere, let alone influence the game, given his size…case closed.

  7. brian
    21. July 2011 at 01:56

    What AI did for the sixers in terms of scoring was negated by a low fg%, TOs, his lack of rebounding, defense (and I’m not talking about gambling for steals). In 2001, I wouldn’t take AI over Kobe Bryant, Ray Allen or Vince Carter. He wasn’t even the best SG of that era.

    There’s only 1 mvp that counts in the nba and that’s the finals MVP. Regular season stuff matters but the playoffs and the finals are where it counts.

    AI is not a Hall of Famer. He’s close but he’s not HOF material.

  8. brian
    21. July 2011 at 02:02

    Not to mention his poor attitude towards practice and his coach. AI was pretty much the same player he was when he got in the nba. Lots of dribbling, fallaway jumpers.

Leave a Reply