Basketball legend Spencer Haywood will not make the Hall of Fame, despite earlier reports he would.
By CHRIS TOMASSON FS Florida
Spencer Haywood will not be announced Monday as having a selection for the Basketball Hall of Fame, despite his former agent having told FOX Sports Florida on Friday he would be.
Al Ross, who was Haywood’s agent in the early 1970s when he sued and won the right through the Supreme Court to enter the NBA as an underclassman, said Friday that Haywood told him he had been called and told he would make the Hall of Fame.
However, Ross sent this email Saturday afternoon to FOX Sports Florida:
“I just heard from Spencer that he has not been selected to the HOF after the NBA office contacted him to say that he was chosen,’’ Ross wrote about Haywood, who is a finalist for election. “This is a travesty, disgraceful and despicable. Whomever did not vote for him should be ashamed of themselves and be thrown off the committee. If Spencer asks me to follow up on his behalf I will get to every television and news media in the country and I will personally chastise the committee and it's (sic) members.’’
In a phone conversation following the sending of the email, Ross said he didn't know who might have called Haywood. Ross was informed the NBA does not deal with Hall of Fame candidates, Hall of Fame officials do. When asked if he believed it was a Hall of Fame or NBA official who contacted Haywood, Ross then said it was “one of them.’’
A source confirmed Saturday that Haywood did not make the Hall of Fame. The NBA declined comment and Hall of Fame chairman Jerry Colangelo did not immediately return a message.
Haywood has not returned numerous messages left Friday and Saturday. On Thursday night, he told FOX Sports Florida he had just flown in from his home in Las Vegas to Atlanta, but would not say anything about whether or not he had made the Hall of Fame.
Atlanta is the site of the Final Four and where the press conference will be held Monday announcing inductees. Finalists are usually notified about their fate the week prior to the announcement. The Hall of Fame traditionally has recommended they not discuss what they are told until the Monday announcement , but that sometimes that is not heeded by finalists.
“He went to Atlanta because he thought he was getting into the Hall of Fame,’’ Ross said after he had sent the email. “This is embarrassing… This is so unfair. He should have been in (the Hall of Fame) years ago.’’
A source said Haywood already had an appearance that had been scheduled in Atlanta this weekend. Neither the source nor Ross had knowledge of how Haywood's expenses to Atlanta were handled.
The Hall of Fame keeps secret the names of committee members who select inductees. They must get 18 of 24 votes.
Haywood has been a controversial figure in NBA history since he sued the league and won by a 7-2 vote in the Supreme Court on March 1, 1971, the right to play with the Seattle SuperSonics. Haywood had been playing that season under a court injunction due to the NBA at the time not allowing players to compete before their college class had not graduated.
Haywood had sought to enter the NBA a year before his class graduated. He had played one season at Trinidad (Colo.) Junior College, one at the University of Detroit and one with the ABA’s Denver Rockets, when he was named the league’s MVP and Rookie of the Year in 1969-70.
Haywood was a four-time NBA All-Star before retiring in 1983. His NBA averages were 19.2 points and 9.2 rebounds.