The 2020 Basketball Hall of Fame class was announced last weekend and it will surely be one of the best classes ever with Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, and Kevin Garnett among the eight inductees who will be enshrined on August 29, 2020.

But while the class of 2020 will surely go anywhere in the Top 5, let’s take a look at the existing Top 5 before Kobe and company will take their rightful spot in the list:

Basketball 1. 2009 Class

  • Michael Jordan
  • David Robinson
  • John Stockton
  • Jerry Sloan
  • Vivian Stringer

The 2009 class was led by the man who is recognized by most as the greatest basketball player of all-time: Michael Jordan.

MJ was the game’s ultimate competitor. He thrived to win and when all was said and done, Jordan led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA titles during the 1990s. Jordan was a scoring machine like no other. He led the league in scoring a total of 10 times and to put that in perspective, the great Wilt Chamberlain was the league’s scoring leader seven times. Jordan won a total of five league MVP awards and six Finals MVP trophies. He was also Defensive Player of the League in 1998 and was a 10-time member of the All-NBA First Team.

David Robinson was the San Antonio Spurs’ #1 overall pick in 1988. Known as the Admiral because he attended Navy in college, Robinson was the league MVP in 1995 and he helped the Spurs win two NBA championships. He teamed up with Tim Duncan to form one of the most dominant frontcourt combinations the league has ever seen. He led the league in scoring once, rebounds one time as well. The Admiral was also a four-time member of the All-NBA First Team.

John Stockton is one-half of the Utah Jazz’s tandem which led the franchise to back to back NBA Finals appearances during the 90s. Stockton was one of the most durable players in the history of the league and he retired as the NBA’s all-time assists and steals leader. He led the NBA in assists for nine straight seasons, a record that still stands up to this day. He and Karl Malone transformed the Jazz franchise into one of the elite teams in the NBA during the 1990s. Stockton was named to the All-Defensive team five times and he was also a 10-time All-Star.

Vivian Stringer is the 6th winningest coach in women’s basketball history. She is the first coach in NCAA history to lead three different schools to the Final Four. Stringer was the 1993 Naismith College Coach of the Year and is also a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame.

Basketball 2. 1980 Class

  • Jerry Lucas
  • Jerry West
  • Oscar Robertson
  • Les Harrison
  • Everett Sheldon
  • Dallas Shirley

Jerry Lucas was a player who won at every level he played, beginning high school and including the international scene. He won an NBA title in1973 and a gold medal at the 1960 Olympics. Lucas is the only player to win three Big Ten Player of the Year awards. He led the Ohio State Buckeyes to three trips to the NCAA Finals, winning one time in 1960. This seven-time all-star was named as the MVP of the midseason classic in 1965.

Jerry West Silhouette of the NBA Logo

Jerry West will always be remembered as the silhouette of the NBA logo. But more than that, he was one of the NBA’s best players ever, especially in crucial moments. Known as Mr. Clutch, West is the only player in basketball history to be named NCAA Final Four MVP and NBA Finals MVP while playing for the losing team. He won the NCAA title in 1959, the Olympic gold medal in 1960, and an NBA championship in 1972. West would go on to have a successful career as an executive. He won Executive of the Year twice and helped the Lakers win six titles during his tenure.

Oscar Robertson was the original Mr. Do It All. Robertson is the first player in NBA history to average a triple-double during an entire season. He was one of the most versatile guards in the history of the league. He was the NBA’s assists leader seven times and the scoring champion one time. The Cincinnati legend made 12 All-Star game appearances and was named to nine All-NBA First Teams.

Basketball 3. 2008 Class

  • Patrick Ewing
  • Hakeem Olajuwon
  • Adrian Dantley
  • Bill Davidson
  • Pat Riley
  • Catchy Rush
  • Dick Vitale

If number two above had two of the best guards in the history of the NBA, the 2008 Hall of Fame class had two of the best centers to ever play the game. And not only were they the two best centers of all-time, but these two also played against each other and had many wars in the NBA.

Patrick Ewing is the first overall pick of the 1985 NBA draft, the first whose draft order was a result of the Draft Lottery. He was the New York Knicks’ franchise player during the late 80s and the 90s. Ewing was named as NBA Defensive Player of the Year three times and he was also selected to play in 11 All-Star teams. He made it to the NBA Finals in 1994 but he lost to Hakeem Olajuwon and the Houston Rockets in a hard-fought seven games series. Ewing is considered as the best center in the history of the New York Knicks.

Olajuwon was the #1 overall pick in the 1984 draft, the one where Michael Jordan was picked third. Olajuwon joined Ralph Sampson and former the first Twin Towers in the NBA. They led the Rockets to the Finals in 1986 where they lost to the Boston Celtics in six games. Eight years later, Olajuwon led the Rockets to back to back NBA titles, winning Finals MVP honors in both series. He was also the league MVP in 1994 and Defensive Player of the Year winner in 1993 and 1994.

Adrian Dantley was one of the best pure-scorers in the history of the league. Dantley had a seven-year period where he averaged 29.6 points per game and made six All-Star teams. He was the NBA scoring champion twice during that span.

Basketball 4. 2010 Class

  • Scottie Pippen
  • Karl Malone
  • Dennis Johnson
  • Gus Johnson
  • Ubiratan Pereira
  • Jerry Buss
  • Bob Hurley
  • Cynthia Cooper-Dyke

This Hall of Fame class features two out of the 50 Greatest Players in the history of the NBA in Scottie Pippen and Karl Malone. Dennis Johnson was a three-time NBA champion who was a member of the Celtics’ 80s team. Gus Johnson was one of the first dunkers in the pro league. He won the ABA title in 1973 and was a five-time All-Star.

You can argue with me on this but Michael Jordan would not have won six NBA titles without Scottie Pippen. While some will call him the greatest sidekick in NBA history, Pippen is without doubt one of the best forwards to ever play the game. He was a two-way star who could score and distribute on one end and who could defend on the other side. Although he was never named as Defensive Player of the Year, Pippen made eight consecutive appearances in the NBA’s All-Defensive First team. His total of 10 All-Defensive team nods is the fifth most in the history of the league. Pippen was also a seven-time member of the All-NBA team, including three in the First team.

Karl Malone is one of the greatest players never to win an NBA title but aside from that, this Mailman delivered everything else during his NBA career. Malong and John Stockton were one of the best one-two punch tandems in the history of the NBA. They led the Utah Jazz to two Finals appearances. Malone made a third one in 2004 while playing for the Los Angeles Lakers but he came out empty-handed in all three attempts. He is the second-leading scorer in the history of the NBA and was a two-time NBA MVP.

Basketball 5. 2018 Class

  • Steve Nash
  • Jason Kidd
  • Grant Hill
  • Maurice Cheeks
  • Ray Allen
  • Dino Radja
  • Charlie Scott
  • Charles Driesell
  • Ora Mae Washington
  • Rod Thorn
  • Rick Welts
  • Katie Smith
  • Tina Thompson

Aside from two WNBA legends, we have three of the best point guards in NBA history in Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, and Maurice Cheeks. This class also includes Ray Allen who is one of the best three-point shooters in history and Dino Radja, one of the European pioneers in the NBA.

Steve Nash was a two-time NBA MVP and is ranked third in the NBA’s All-time assist leaderboard. During his prime, he averaged 16.9 points and 10.9 assists during a six-year period where he led the league in assists five times. He was one of the best passers ever and was a prolific shooter from every angle. Had he taken more shots, he would’ve been Stephen Curry before Steph Curry himself.

Jason Kidd was much like Steve Nash although he didn’t shoot as well as the Canadian. He also led the NBA in assists five times, was a member of the All-NBA First team five times, and an NBA All-Star on ten occasions. He also won two Olympic gold medals and was a member of the Dallas Mavericks team which won the NBA title in 2011. He retired with the third-most triple-doubles in the history of the NBA.

Maurice Cheeks wasn’t as spectacular as Nash and Kidd, but he was as effective when he was the floor general of the Philadelphia 76ers during the 1980s. Cheeks was a two-way guard who played tough defense on one end and was an unselfish point guard on the other end. He shot 52.3% during his career and retired 5th in the NBA’s all-time steals list. Cheeks helped the Sixers win the NBA title in 1983.

Who could forget Ray Allen’s Game 6 shot against the Spurs? Allen is the NBA’s all-time three-point leader and a career 40% shooter from deep. He won a total of two NBA titles: one with the Celtics and another with the Heat. Dino Radja played for the Celtics and was one of the European pioneers in the NBA. Radja is among FIBA’s 50 greatest players.

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *