January is the time of year when the baseball writers Hall of Fame voting results is revealed. Voting results often cause controversy and keeps baseball discussion going in the middle of the MLB offseason. The Basketball Hall of Fame is different than baseball’s hall in that the vote for the basketball hall is a secret vote and the NBA doesn’t have its own hall.
The hall also heavily rewards international and college play. In the spirit of hall talk, here’s a list of current NBA players who if they suddenly retired today have earned enshrinement in the Hall.
Jason Kidd (1994-present)
Career highlights- 2011 NBA Champion, 10x All-Star, 5x All-NBA 1st team
Kidd is one of the most versatile point guards to ever play the game. Kidd ranks second all-time in both steals and assists. Kidd is the only player in NBA history with 15,000 points, 10,000 assists and 7,000 rebounds. Kidd revitalized the New Jersey Nets during his stint with them, leading the Nets to their only two NBA Finals appearances.
Kevin Garnett (1995-present)
Career highlights- 2004 NBA MVP, 2008 NBA Champion, 14x All-Star
KG is one of the best defensive players in the history of the league and is on pace to be an All-Star in his 18th season. The prototype for a generation of power forwards, Garnett had the ability to impact the game in every single category during his prime. Years of prime wasted playing with subpar players during Minnesota, move to Boston made him a winner.
Kobe Bryant (1996-present)
Career highlights- 2008 NBA MVP, 5x NBA Champion, 2x NBA Finals MVP
Kobe was/is the dominant shooting guard in the NBA in the post-Michael Jordan era. One of the fiercest competitors to ever play in the NBA, there has been few players who have wanted the ball more in the big moments than Bryant. In his 17th season Bryant is still nearly as dominant a scorer as he was in his prime.
Ray Allen (1996-present)
Career highlights- 10x All-Star, 2008 NBA Champion, 2000 Gold Medal USA Basketball
Ray Allen is one of the greatest pure shooters to ever play in the NBA. Allen is the NBA’s all-time leader in 3-pointers made. More than just a shooter, Allen in his prime was a deadly scorer with a devastating penetrating game. Allen is still going strong today as a sixth man for the defending champion Miami Heat.
Steve Nash (1996-present)
Career highlights- 2x NBA MVP, 8x All-Star, 3x All-NBA 1st team
Nash is the player who can be most credited for bringing back the running game to the NBA. Nash and the Suns took the NBA by storm with the seven seconds or less offense style, winning two MVPs in the process for Nash and making the Suns one of the NBA’s most popular teams. Nash has led the league in assists 5 times and is one of the most gifted passers in league history.
Tim Duncan (1997-present)
Career highlights- 2 time NBA MVP, 4 time NBA Champion, 13x All-Star
Few players have had the sustained career excellence that Duncan has had. Duncan made the All-NBA 1st team in each of his first eight seasons and was an All-Star in his first 14 seasons. Nicknamed the “Big Fundamental,” Duncan has never been a flashy player but a fundamental player who has been perhaps the greatest power forward to ever play in the NBA.
Paul Pierce (1998-present)
Career highlights- 2008 NBA Champion, 2008 NBA Finals MVP, 10x All-Star
Pierce was man who carried the Celtics through the rough stretch before Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen came to Boston. Pierce spent years as one of the most underrated players in the league before the formation of the “Big Three” brought Pierce into the NBA spotlight. Pierce is second in points scored in Celtics history and is one of the greatest scorers in NBA history. Barring a trade or sudden retirement, Pierce will become the all-time leader in games played and points scored in Celtics history.
Dirk Nowitzki (1998-present)
Career highlights- 2011 NBA Champion, 2011 NBA Finals MVP, 11x All-Star
Dirk is arguably the greatest European player to ever play in the NBA. One of the first seven foot players to have 3-point range, Nowitzki is a skilled scorer who can score in every way imaginable. Long miscast as a choker due to Dallas’ Finals collapse in 2006, Nowitzki led the Mavs to the 2011 NBA championship during one of the great playoff runs in NBA history.
Dwyane Wade (2003-present)
Career highlights- 2x NBA Champion, 2006 NBA Finals MVP, 8x All-Star
Wade has been one of the premier NBA shooting guards in the NBA since the moment he entered the league. One of the most athletic players in the league and a lockdown defender, Wade has been a fixture in both the highlight reel and the league stat leaders. Wade won the 2009 NBA scoring title and is the Miami Heat’s all-time leading scorer.
LeBron James (2003-present)
Career highlights- 2012 NBA Champion, 3x NBA MVP, 8x All-Star
Known as the “Chosen One,” LeBron was seemingly destined for NBA stardom from the time when he was a high-school senior. A unique blend of strength, speed and basketball skills, LeBron has the ability to do just about anything on a basketball court and is still in the middle of his prime. With the addition of a NBA ring to his collection, LeBron has the ability to become the greatest player to ever play in the NBA.
Manu Ginobili (2002-present)
Career highlights- 3x All-Star, 3x NBA Champion, 2x All-NBA 3RD Team
Ginobili’s NBA career along with his international career makes him a surefire Hall of Famer. Ginobili won a Gold medal with Argentina in 2004, is a former Italian league MVP and former Euroleague MVP. Manu has been one of the most influential players in the NBA popularizing the Euro step and gaining notoriety as one of the best floppers in the league. Ginobili has been a winner at every stage in his career and is still adding to his lengthy resume with the league-leading Spurs.
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