When you take a quick glance at this year's incoming class to the Basketball Hall of Fame, Dennis Rodman's name is the one that jumps out at you right away.
Obviously. Rodman dyed his hair, he threw tantrums, he dated supermodels, and he also happened to be a key role player on a handful of championship-winning NBA teams. He had a long list of superstar teammates in his career — Isiah Thomas, Joe Dumars, David Robinson, Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant and Dirk Nowitzki just to name a few – but Rodman was a mighty good player in his own right.
But is he the real star of this year's Hall class?
No way. No chance. Forget about it.
You probably don't know much about Satch Sanders. In fact, if you've even heard of Satch Sanders to begin with, then props to you. He's not one of the better-known luminaries of the game's past. But if you've never heard of Satch, he's probably the best player you've never heard of. He was an integral part of the Celtic dynasty that rattled off title after title in the 1960s, and for that, he deserves our praise.
Stack him up next to Rodman side by side. It's no contest. Rings? Satch has more, eight to Rodman's five. Games played in the NBA? It's Satch by a hair, 916 to 911. Career points? Satch has him, 8,766 to 6,683. Rebounds?
OK, never mind that one.
But you get my point. Tattoos, piercings and controversial comments have a way of generating media attention, but the substance of a basketball career is so much more than that. Consider this: In the game's history, only five guys have ever averaged double-digit scoring for seven NBA champions. Satch is one of them; the other four are Bill Russell, Sam Jones, John Havlicek and Tommy Heinsohn. That's an elite group.
Rodman had Madonna and Carmen Electra, Satch had Russell and Havlicek. Rodman had a professional wrestling gig and a series of run-ins with the law, Satch had a lifelong commitment to the Celtics' organization, not only as a player but also as a coach and behind-the-scenes supporter.
Satch Sanders is still around today — he's 72 years young and still makes the occasional appearance at the team's practice facility to send his best wishes to today's Celtics. He broke into the NBA in 1960, and he's been a Celtic ever since.
Fifty years of devotion to one sport, and to one franchise? That's something worth commending.
What do you think of this year's Basketball Hall of Fame class? Share your thoughts below.
Powered by WordPress.com VIP