Former Milwaukee Bucks Sidney Moncrief and Jack Sikma have been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. They are part of the 2019 class that will be inducted during enshrinement festivities from September 5 to September 7 at the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Moncrief, who was inducted into the NCAA Hall of Fame in 2018, had a standout career at the University of Arkansas where he was an All-America First Team selection in 1979 and graced the cover of Sports Illustrated with an iconic image of him above the rim slamming down a dunk with two hands.
Moncrief played on Bucks teams coached by legendary Hall of Famer Don Nelson that were credited with revolutionizing the way NBA basketball was played, with the introduction of “Small ball”, which is prominent in the league today.
During that stretch the Bucks made it to the Eastern Conference Finals in 1983, 1984, and 1986 but each time lost to the eventual NBA champions. The Bucks loss to the 76ers in 1983 was particularly memorable as they were the only team to win a single game against the 76ers, whose superstar center Moses Malone had guaranteed that the 76ers would win every playoff game that season.
Moncrief’s claim to fame was his defense. He was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year twice and was a 5 time NBA All-star. He has remained close to the franchise serving as a Bucks assistant coach and as a member of the broadcast team.
Jack Sikma was on the Bucks around the same time. Sikma played for the team from 1987-1991. He won an NBA championship with the Seattle Supersonics and was a seven-time All-Star.
The 2019 class includes former Celtics and Rockets coach Bill Fitch, 76ers forward Bobby Jones, New York Liberty guard Teresa Weatherspoon, Suns guard and coach Paul Westphal, and a collegiate team, Tennessee A&I’s 1957-58 team.
But for the third straight year Chris Webber was snubbed by the Hall of Fame Committee. Webber, who has been on the ballot since 2016, is arguably the greatest eligible former player not in the Hall of Fame.
Webber was one of the most iconic players of his generation. He spearheaded Michigan’s Fab Five, a controversial group that incited intense racial backlash while at Michigan. Webber brought into vogue the wearing of baggy shorts and black socks. His athleticism and versatility made him one of the early unicorns of college basketball. Webber led the Wolverines to back-to-back NCAA championship games, falling short both times. Webber famously cost Michigan a chance to win the 1993 championship game by calling a timeout that the Wolverines did not have, which led to a technical foul and gave opposing North Carolina the title.
Still, Webber’s brashness and unique skill set at 6’9” made him one of the most popular NBA players with youth in the 1990’s. He led a squad of amateurs in defeating the fabled 1992 Dream Team in a scrimmage, did an around-the-back dunk on Charles Barkley that was featured in commercials, and led the Sacramento Kings in an intense rivalry with the Los Angeles Lakers.
While other sports like baseball have had controversial years where all-time great players have not gone into the Hall of Fame for image or personal reasons, the Naismith Hall has been extremely inclusive of stars that were polarizing such as Dennis Rodman and Allen Iverson. There is absolutely zero historical precedent in basketball for a player of Chris Webber’s caliber not being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Webber was found guilty of perjury when he lied during court proceedings about his association with alleged Michigan booster Ed Martin. Subsequently, the accomplishments of the Fab Five were erased from NCAA record books and their banners were taken down at Michigan. Webber also suffered a career altering knee injury in 2003 that cut short his peak.
The Hall of Fame has not given any explanation about why Webber has been omitted from induction despite being clearly better than all of the players inducted in 2019. The Hall of Fame committee members are not made public and vote tallies are not released.