The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame is a prestigious honor. Only the best and the most iconic players in the history of basketball are granted entry into this exclusive list. Every year, a select group of players, coaches, and other notable figures in basketball are allowed entry into the Hall and are immortalized forever in the history books.
Today, we saw a few 2000s legends make their way into the Hall of Fame. Paul Pierce, Chris Webber, and Ben Wallace headlined this year's Hall of Fame class, along with other names such as Bill Russell (who made it in as a coach this year), Toni Kukoc, and legendary college coach Jay Wright. With these guys finally making it into the Hall, let's try to predict who will be the next former NBA superstars to be inducted in 2022.
Career stats: 13.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 3.8 APG
This one is a no-brainer.
2022 marks the third year since Manu Ginobili's retirement, which also means that the Argentine superhero is now eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Magic Manu should definitely make it into the Hall, not only for his NBA accomplishments but also his international impact.
Manu Ginobili was part of the iconic Big 3 for the San Antonio Spurs during most of the 2000s and the 2010s. Alongside Tim Duncan and Tony Parker, Ginobili won four titles with the Spurs. He is probably most well-known for being the best sixth man in the entire league. Ginobili had the talent to be a starting-caliber shooting guard. In fact, he started as the shooting guard for Gregg Popovich. But after agreeing with Pop that their bench needed a scoring punch, Manu came off the bench to be the sixth man. That humility and willingness to do anything to secure a victory is what endeared many Spurs fans to Ginobili.
Ginobili was also a legend in the international game. He was part of Argentina's Golden Generation alongside Luis Scola. Perhaps his biggest achievement, and the reason why he should be a lock in the Hall of Fame, is when he helped his home country defeat the USA in the 2004 Olympics, shocking the world. Ginobili is a legend in his home country, and is a legend in the NBA as well. There's no reason why he shouldn't be a first-ballot Hall of Famer next year.
Career stats: 12.9 PPG, 9.7 RPG, 2.0 APG
When you think of the Bad Boy Pistons of the 90s, you think of no-nonsense players who were willing to take a technical or two to set the tone of the game. No one embodied that Bad Boys mantra more than their resident enforcer, Bill Laimbeer.
Laimbeer was a 6'11, 245-pound behemoth of a man who could deter anyone who wanted to go to the rim from ever stepping foot in the paint again. He was a decent shot-blocker, and he was great at grabbing rebounds, but Laimbeer's strength was his merciless and unforgiving play. Isiah Thomas and Joe Dumars may have been the heart that kept the Pistons running, but Laimbeer was the soul of the whole operation.
Laimbeer was willing to do the dirty work, and I mean really dirty work for the team. If they needed to rough up a star player of the other team (hey, Michael Jordan) or for someone to stand up for what they think is a dirty play, the Pistons could count on Laimbeer. He won't score or block shots, but he'll pummel your face to oblivion without the refs even noticing.
You can think that Laimbeer making the Hall would set a bad example due to his dirty plays. But at the end of the day, he's a one-time NBA champion who was a core part of the Pistons' championship run. That deserves a Hall selection or consideration at least.
Career stats: 15.2 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 1.9 APG
Shawn Marion is an interesting case for the Hall of Fame.
Marion has been eligible for the last three years, but hasn't been able to get into the official list of inductees. Casual NBA fans may know him for being featured on every unique shooting form compilation on YouTube, but hardcore NBA fans know that the Matrix was a problem for other teams during his prime.
Despite his weird shooting form, Marion was a capable shooter from three, if not a bit inconsistent. His big frame and relative agility and dexterity made him a LeBron-lite: a big do-it-all forward who can bring the ball up the court and playmake or score. He earned four All-Star nods in his career, along with two All-NBA appearances and, most importantly, a title with the Dallas Mavericks.
Marion has the stats and the resume to be a Hall of Famer. Let's make 2022 the year the Matrix invades the Naismith Hall.