Saturday, April 13, 2024

Vince Carter, Chauncey Billups, Jerry West will be part of 2024 Basketball Hall of Fame class, per reports

Vince Carter and Chauncey Billups will headline the 2014 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. Already announced as finalists, both have now reportedly made the cut. This means that Carter, who retired at 43 after the 2019-20 season, will soon officially be a first-ballot Hall of Famer. Billups, who retired in 2014 after a 17-year career, has been eligible since 2018, but was never named a finalist until this year.

Jerry West was also elected into the Hall of Fame in this class, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. West will be inducted as a contributor, after being inducted as a player in 1979 and as a member of the United States’ 1960 Olympic team in 2010.

The official announcement will be made this Saturday in Phoenix at the NCAA men’s basketball Final Four.

Carter made eight consecutive All-Star teams starting in 2000, the same year that he delivered a legendary performance in the slam dunk contest. Drafted No. 5 in 1998, the high-flying wing won Rookie of the Year and made two All-NBA teams as a member of the Toronto Raptors. After a messy exit (that has since been smoothed over), he starred for the New Jersey Nets from 2004 until a 2009 trade to the Orlando Magic. In the second half of his 22-year career — an all-time record — he reinvented himself as a role player. He had a brief stint in Phoenix, then spent three years in Dallas, three in Memphis, one in Sacramento and two in Atlanta. No one else in NBA history has played in four different decades.

In his third season, his statistical peak, Carter averaged 27.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.5 steals and 1.1 blocks. He was simultaneously the best dunker the NBA had ever seen, the most exciting player in the league and a 40.8% 3-point shooter. In 2000, 2001, 2002 and 2004, he was the All-Star Game’s leading vote-getter.

Carter won a gold medal representing the United States at the 2000 Olympics. That’s when he jumped over 7-foot-2 French center Frederic Weis and threw down one of the most memorable dunks in the history of the sport. Now 47, he is a broadcaster for ESPN and YES Network.

Billups, unlike Carter, was not a sensation early on. After selecting the point guard with the No. 3 pick in 1997, the Boston Celtics traded him to Toronto 51 games into his rookie season, and the Raptors traded him to the Denver Nuggets before his second year. After two years with his hometown team and two in Minnesota, he signed with the Detroit Pistons in free agency (for the midlevel exception) in 2002. He only really got going on his Hall of Fame trajectory in his sixth season, playing for his fifth team.

In Year 2 with the Pistons, Billups won Finals MVP, averaging 21.4 points, 5.2 rebounds and 4.0 assists in five games against the Los Angeles Lakers on .509-.471-.929 shooting splits. This version of Billups was one of the game’s best floor generals, one of its best shooters and one of its best point-of-attack defenders. He made his name as the leader of a tough, balanced team that lacked a high-usage superstar and found a way to win a championship. He made the first of his two All-Defensive teams in 2005, and, a year later, made the first of his six consecutive All-Star teams and the first of his three All-NBA teams.

Billups finished fifth in MVP voting in 2005-06, averaging 18.5 points, 3.1 rebounds and a career-high 8.5 assists. Statistically, though, he might have been even better in 2007-08, when, at 31 years old, he averaged 17 points on 61.9% true shooting. Early in the 2008-09 season, Detroit traded him to Denver, where, alongside Carmelo Anthony, he led a team that had lost in the first round for five consecutive seasons to the Western Conference finals. He was traded with Anthony to the New York Knicks at the 2011 deadline and claimed by the Los Angeles Clippers when the Knicks waived him the following offseason. After tearing his Achilles in Year 15, he re-signed with the Clippers for another year, then returned to Detroit for the 2013-14 season, his last.

The Pistons retired Billups’ jersey in 2016. After a few years broadcasting with ESPN and the Clippers, he joined Tyronn Lue’s coaching staff with the Clippers for the 2020-21 season. He is now the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers, having been hired off of Lue’s staff in June 2021.

West, one of the most accomplished executives in NBA history, spent more than two decades in the Los Angeles Lakers’ front office, five years as the general manager of the Memphis Grizzlies and six years as an exec with the Golden State Warriors, winning eight championships and two Executive of the Year awards along the way. He has been a consultant for the Los Angeles Clippers since 2017. 

The remaining finalists:

  • North American committee: Michael Cooper, Walter Davis Bo Ryan, Charles Smith
  • Women’s committee: Seimone Augustus, Marian Washington
  • Men’s veteran committee: Dick Barnett
  • Women’s veteran committee: Harley Redin
  • International committee: Michele Timms
  • Contributors committee: Doug Collins, Herb Simon

The enshrinement ceremony will take place on Aug. 17 at Springfield Symphony Hall in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

Looking for more NBA coverage? John Gonzalez, Bill Reiter, Ashley Nicole Moss and special guests dive deep into the league’s biggest storylines daily on the Beyond the Arc podcast.

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