Whenever an accomplished player retires there is always a question raised if said player should be considered for the Basketball Hall of Fame. This is seldom brought up concerning Chris Webber, and it’s about time it is addressed. This article will attempt to examine this while stating a case that C-Webb really does belong in this selective group. Let’s take a look point by point made:
He was the best player on an outstanding College team: In his two years at Michigan, Webber was the best player as well as on and off-court leader of the famed “Fab Five.” The roster included future NBA players Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose and Jimmy King. That Michigan squad went to the NCAA Final Four both of Webber’s years. Called time out notwithstanding (and that was overblown WAY too much in print and television media for years), Webber was a dominant player on both ends of the court. That should not be overlooked.
He could easily be considered one of the best passing big men in NBA History: In his fifteen year career, Webber averaged 4.2 assists per game. He assisted on just over 20 percent of his teams’ baskets when on the court. Out of players 6-9 or bigger, only Larry Bird, Toni Kukoc and Alvan Adams accomplished this. As skilled of a big man as Webber was in all facets of the game his passing stood out – and this was a player who could lead the fast break with the best of them. He played Power Forward from the outside in long before Kevin Garnett and Dirk Nowitzki did. He controlled the offense for the teams he played on.
He was consistent through his long career: Webber played over 30,000 minutes and had a career PER over 20. Only thirty-two players have done this. Over twenty are already in the Hall of Fame and some of the others are considered sure things. I fail to understand why Webber doesn’t merit such consideration even though his career is similar, and in many cases superior, to many of the players already enshrined.
Having a Championship Ring should not be necessary: Did Webber’s productivity decline in the playoffs? Yes, but that is usually the case when a team who plays fast is slowed down come playoff time. He was still the best player on his playoff teams, always a go-to player who did as much with his passing as his scoring and rebounding. He never made an NBA Finals (although anyone who watched Sacramento in 2002 knows why) and it shouldn’t matter – for many reasons. Ask Charles Barkley, Karl Malone, John Stockton and Reggie Miller. Soon we will be adding Steve Nash and quite possibly Tracy McGrady to this list. Does anything more need to be said about this? Come on, it’s not like someone is trying to get Dennis Awtrey in there (Sorry Dennis).
I can only hope the case has been made sufficiently. Other players may have similar stats and career lines, but none of them had a 3-5 year stretch of play like Webber did. It’s time to put perceptions aside and look at the overall body of work so everyone can realize that Chris Webber absolutely belongs in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Probably more than some players who are already there.