On April 6, the 2019 Basketball Hall of Fame class was reported by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, with one notable omission: Chris Webber. Why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame yet?
For the seventh year, Sacramento Kings legend Chris Webber didn’t make the cut for the Basketball Hall of Fame — this time, watching as his former teammate, Sacramento Kings General Manager Vlade Divac, was inducted as an international selection.
It’s been a rocky road between Webber and the Hall of Fame, unfortunately. His first year of eligibility he wasn’t nominated for consideration, and didn’t make the cut to be a finalist until 2017, where he’s fallen short each of the year’s since.
C-Webb is a former number one pick who was the 1993-94 NBA Rookie of the Year, made five All-Star teams, five All-NBA teams, finished top-10 in MVP voting five times, is 26th all-time in minutes per game (37.1) and 52nd all-time in career points per game (20.7), but he still hasn’t gotten the call. In fact, Webber is in the top-100 for career rebounds, steals, blocks, minutes and points and averaged 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his 19-year career. So why isn’t he in the Hall of Fame?
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Webber’s number was already retired by the Sacramento Kings after an incredible 7-year run that saw him average 23.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.8 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.5 blocks over 377 games. But the result is the same: no Hall.
There are a couple major reasons why, with the longevity being one of them.
During the 2003 Western Conference Semifinals, Webber suffered a torn meniscus and subsequently had microfracture surgery — a procedure that can greatly impact a player’s career — and a procedure Webber would never fully recover from. Webber played more than 70 games just once over the final five years of his career, and wasn’t able to make the transition from superstar to role player before he called it a career in 2008.
There’s also the college basketball factor. The Basketball Hall of Fame isn’t just for NBA success. It’s for success in all types of basketball (and why Divac was inducted on the stretch of his international career), and Webber’s history with the NCAA isn’t the best — despite him being one of the best.
You see, Webber never officially played college basketball, as all of his achievements were wiped away after Webber was found to have taken money from a booster during his time with Michigan. As a result, the ever popular NCAA vacated everything Webber had accomplished, which includes two trips to the National Championship Game in two seasons as the undisputed leader of the infamous Fab-Five.
This, more so than the longevity question, is what is likely keeping Webber out of the Hall of Fame. The Hall of Fame voters are anonymous, so we don’t know who is keeping Webber out, but it’s well past the time to stop.
Chris Webber was one of the most dominant players in basketball during his peak, yet taking money from a booster could be the sole reason Webber isn’t given the highest honor a basketball player can achieve. His NBA resumé alone should warrant a Hall of Fame bid, regardless of what happened at the collegiate level. It’s been seven years since he was first eligible, and three since he became a finalist — let’s not make it eight and four.