Monday, April 8

Haywood, the Hall, and a Great Big Mess

I suppose I should put in a few words about the Spencer Haywood/Hall of Fame fiasco that occurred over the weekend. What the heck, I’ve already written a few thousand about the situation, what’s 800 more?

As you are likely aware by now, Haywood’s former agent, Al Ross, told a reporter that Haywood told him that he (Haywood) had been told by someone from the NBA that he (Haywood) would be in the 2013 Hall of Fame class.

Got that?

(As a brief aside, the notion that Spencer Haywood would use Al Ross as an intermediary to the press is somewhat humorous if you know the back story of those two gentlemen. In Haywood’s first book, Ross is a hero, someone who helps liberate the young basketball star from the shackles of the NCAA and the NBA and the ABA. In Haywood’s second book, Ross is a con artist who lied about his name and background, and squandered Spencer’s income. As I said, the idea that Spencer Haywood would utilize Al Ross for anything beyond curse words is somewhat humorous.)

In any event, heading into last week, Haywood seemed most occupied in getting word out that he deserved to be in the Hall. Setting aside the fact the vote had already been taken (details, details), the former Sonic tweeted seemingly every notable NBA player of the past three decades about how he deserved to be in, as well as conducting an intense interview with a Las Vegas newspaper.

And that’s where we stood heading into Friday, at which point the Ross story broke. To make matters more confusing, Haywood was planning on being in Atlanta this weekend … but not because he expected to go into the Hall, sources say, but because he had some pre-planned business there. The fact the Hall nominees would be gathering in Atlanta for the Final Four was just a coincidence.

So, you’ve got Spencer Haywood’s new BFF, Al Ross, telling the media Haywood was going in, you’ve got Haywood in Atlanta, you’ve got Haywood telling some sources that he wasn’t going in, you’ve got other sources saying that Haywood thought he was going in, but he had been sucker-punched and he wasn’t really going in, and you’ve got other sources saying … at least point, I think we just give up.

What’s the real story? Here are the facts in evidence:

1.      Undeniable: Spencer Haywood is extraordinarily pissed off at not being recognized by the Hall of Fame.
2.      Undeniable: The Hall was considering Haywood for the Hall.
3.      Undeniable: The Hall did not induct him.

Somewhere between #2 and #3, Haywood got it into his head that he was going in. Bear in mind, this is not the first time this has happened. Haywood told the Seattle Times last year, and a few other outlets as well, that he was going into the Hall. Suffice it to say, it didn’t happen.

All of which leads me to this conclusion: Haywood is either 1) telling the truth and the Hall misled him about the induction (less likely) or 2) trying to pressure the Hall into inducting him (more likely).

I’m not saying Haywood is lying here – it could very well be that someone associated with the Hall (which, I should point out, is about as transparent about their processes as the Richard Nixon-era Republican Party) told Haywood that he was being considered and there was a chance he might get in. It doesn’t take a brain surgeon to ascertain that Haywood is desperate for recognition and would cling to any branch of possibility, no matter how flimsy it might be. 

Further, for all those calling this a "tragedy" and so forth, calm down and look at this from the perspective of the Hall of Fame. Let's say you are deemed responsible for notifying the inductees. I would imagine that such person has a list of who is getting in and who is not. I would imagine that such person would then phone each person and let them know - without confusion - that yes, you are an inductee, and that you should be in Atlanta this weekend. 

In what universe does this person call Spencer Haywood? Are we to believe the Hall is so screwed up that they don't know who is getting in and who is not? That they are so badly mismanaged that the person responsible for notifying the inductees called Spencer Haywood by mistake, and then when he realized his mistake, added to the confusion by not immediately clarifying the situation with Haywood? The same Haywood who, in a previous instance, told everyone he was going in, when he wasn't? You're expecting me to believe that the Hall didn't specifically tell the notification fellow that, whatever you do, DON'T CALL SPENCER HAYWOOD BECAUSE WE DON'T WANT TO THROW ANY MORE GAS ON THAT FIRE.

I'm sorry, but I'm not buying that, and this is from someone who is as enamored with the Basketball Hall of Fame as he is with collecting Portland Trail Blazer memorabilia.

Regardless, as it stands now, Spencer Haywood is not a Hall of Famer. In my opinion, there are two parties with egg on their faces this morning: Haywood, for obvious reasons, and the Hall. The fact the Hall continues to put this man through this charade is embarrassing. I’ve said it before: Either elect the guy or don’t, but quit prolonging the agony.

1 comment:

mckoosa said...

I am glad to see that I am not the only one who remembers Haywood doing the exact same media blitz that he was in the Hall LAST YEAR...He was on KJR Sports Radio in FEB,THIS year,stating,as,fact,that he was in,and how he'd like to get Sam Schulman's 93 year old widow, Sylvia, too introduce him.....Something very bizarre about Woody's mental state IMHO...and,kudos for you for referencing Haywood's 2nd book and it's portrayal of Al Ross as a conman who had ripped SH off...after all this, I say he doesn't belong...he was marginal at best before...and mainly for historical reasons,not for NBA play....he coasted through the last 2/3 of his career,and was a selfish one note player...Was beloved in Seattle until his angry 1975 Press Conf.announcing his trade to the Knicks...he felt unappreciated....."Second verse, same as the First!"...(38 years later)