- The Washington Times - Monday, April 3, 2006

Charles Barkley, Dominique Wilkins, Joe Dumars, Geno Auriemma, Dave Gavitt and Sandro Gamba were elected to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame yesterday, which raises a few questions:

1. Basketball has a Hall of Fame?

Yes, it’s called the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.

It’s in Springfield, Mass., and admission is $16.99.

It sounds fun, but the NBA or the NABC or whoever is in charge of this thing should move it up its to-do list.

This thing is promoted less than a tattooed superstar with a rap album and an arrest record.

I’m not sure what the big secret is. Maybe the hall is Dick Cheney’s undisclosed location.

Candidates for baseball’s Hall of Fame receive more discussion than Supreme Court nominees. Inductees receive a plaque.

Pro Football Hall of Famers receive a cool bust and realtor sports coat. A bust is immortal.

What do basketball Hall of Famers get? Globetrotters tickets and a copy Ron Artest’s latest album?

David Stern needs to promote his sport’s Hall of Fame, starting with putting the induction ceremonies on national television — ABC or ESPN, not NBA TV.

2. Sandro Gamba?

Barkley. Dominique. Dumars. Heard of them.

Sandro Gamba? Check please.

For every three or four transcendent players in the Hall, there’s at least one international player no one has heard of.

No one knows who votes on this stuff or why people like this Italian coach keep getting in.

You want an accessible Hall of Fame, one that people talk about, then keep the riff-raff out.

As for Gamba, tell Italy to start working on the plaque.

3. Geno Auriemma?

Auriemma is quite good. He’s one of the few women’s coaches who would be a success in men’s basketball.

But Don Nelson was also up for election. He is second all time in wins with 1,190 — in the NBA.

It seems like the standard induction among NBA coaches is Red Auerbach and the standard for college coaches is Jim Boeheim.

George Karl said it best: He makes more decisions in a week than a college coach makes in a year.

Nelson made Paul Pressey the first point forward.

He drafted Dirk Nowitzki, and everyone laughed. He made him a 7-foot shooting guard, and everyone laughed. Now he’s one of the top five players in the league.

What does Nelson have to do — coach the Italian national team?

4. Dick Vitale?

This guy was nominated again this year. No one is sure why.

But let’s make this deal: He can go in but only if he will stop. Whatever it is he’s doing, just stop. Please.

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