I have been a Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame voter in the past, but let me clearly state that I was not one of those who this year left off the ballot one Reggie Miller, a two guard who will go down as one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history, a clutch performer who led a moribund franchise (the Pacers) to prominence and a man whose playoff duels with the Knicks provided enduring Madison Square Garden memories.
But I may have an answer, albeit an unsatisfactory one, as to what happened with Miller and, just as significant, to another of the spurned, Don Nelson, who is merely the NBA's alltime winningest coach and a celebrated innovator (Nellie Ball).
As a voter you are told that the Hall should not be a popularity contest, reminded that the roots of the game should be recognized, schooled not to forget about the women's game. So, taking this year as an example, you nominate Stanford women's coach Tara VanDerveer (817 wins, two NCAA titles) and triangle-offense pioneer Tex Winter, and by the time you've put on rebounding king Dennis Rodman and four-time NBA champion Jamaal Wilkes ... well, you can't nominate everybody!
So you start to split hairs. Reggie wasn't a good enough defender and was a one-position guy; Nellie never won a ring. Next thing you know, you've overthought the process, providing, say, Teresa Edwards and Herb Magee a chance to get in the Hall of Fame before Miller and Nelson. And that's no slight on Edwards, a five-time Olympian, or Magee, who has won 921 games at Division II Philadelphia University.
I propose a revolving Super Committee to address omissions such as Miller and Nelson. After the nominations a select group (Magic Johnson? Larry Bird? Mike Krzyzewski?) is asked to scour the list. This year the question before them would've been: Will we look like a bunch of idiots if we leave off Reggie and Nellie? We know what their answer would have been.