Saturday, September 12, 2009

NBA Hall of Fame

Every year the NBA Hall of Fame inducts a few people into its hallowed halls. They've just admitted the Class of 2009, and what a class. One person overshadows them all, of course: Michael Jordan. But he's not who I want to talk about. Alongside Jordan is John Stockton, the NBA's all-time assist and steals leader. There have been flashier passers, but Stockton is the type of player who knows where he wants the ball to go to, and that it will go there. I once watched him throw a bounce pass that looked so simple, but was so razor sharp in splitting the defence - it was ten times better than any behind-the-back pass you find on an ESPN highlight reel. Of the other point guards I've actually watched (as opposed to those I didn't, such as the old-timers like Bob Cousy), only Magic Johnson and Jason Kidd are comparable.

And then there's David Robinson. My favourite player as a teenager was Penny Hardaway, but there's no player in the NBA, possibly in all sports, I admire more than the Admiral. David Robinson is class, not just as an athlete, but as a person. I like to think the reason why the San Antonio Spurs has remained such a professional and respected organisation unlike one or two others (see: New York) is due in no small part to his influence. I don't think I got to watch him at his peak - the early 90s, where by most accounts he could justifiably lay claim to being the best centre of all-time, but I did watch him in the late 90s and especially after he gracefully ceded leadership of the Spurs to Tim Duncan. He had no ego. I'm proud he calls himself a Christian, because he has shown complete integrity; no one speaks of him badly. Here's a brief news profile, and a more in-depth one. Here's a tribute post.

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