Normally, I’m not one for Hall of Fame debates.Â The Hall of Fame’sÂ for most sports are now overrun by players who very good, but not great, and who quite frankly would not have entered their sport’s HOF if they had not lingered around long enough after their playing careers had ended.Â Still, every once in a while I’ll allow a friend to rope me into one of these debates.Â However, I don’t have anyone to blame but myself (well maybe I can blame twitter because that’s where I got the idea).Â After taking a look at Amare Stoudemire’s twitter profile, I randomly blurted out “oh snap, this guy might be a Hall of Famer.”
I don’t know if this counts asÂ an out of body experience.Â Or maybe this is the sensation felt by a person succumbing to a subliminal message.Â But whatever it was, it felt as if Amareisreal’s seemingly benign timeline was really a diabolical mind controlling device designed to convince unsuspecting basketball fans like myself that AmareisGreat.
Stoudemire has clearly distinguished himself as one of the best power forwards of his generation.Â With career averages of 21.9pts and 8.9reb for his career, Stoudemire ranks somewhere between Kevin Garnett and Zach Randolph. He’sÂ garnered more accolades, and led his team to the playoffs more than Randolph, but he’s nowhere near the rebounder and defender that Garnett is, and has therefore been lapped by Garnett in terms of All-NBA honors.
One could even make the case that the last twenty -years has been a golden-era for power forwards.Â While people have been awaiting the arrival of the next Jordan, the succession of power-forwards who’ve come into their primes between 1990 and 2010 are among the greatest in history.Â Along with the aforementioned Garnett, there was also first ballot Hall of Famers Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, and future inductee and four-time NBA champion Tim Duncan.Â Not to be forgotten is Dirk Nowitzki, one of the greatest pure shooters at any position, and a player who in his own right has done more to redefine the power forward position than he’s often given credit.
Stoudemire arguably fits more neatly into the second tier of players from this generation, e.g., Rasheed Wallace, Pau Gasol, Chris Bosh, all with the exception of maybe Wallace have likely convinced some voters that they’re surefire HOF candidates.
In thinking about this question, I was less surprised that Stoudemire has been able to hold his own against some of the best players in the last twenty years, but moreso by how quickly his career has progressed.Â It is hard to fathom that Stoudemire has been in the NBA for nine years, which is pretty staggering when you consider that his career has been written off three times already.Â Five years ago if you asked most NBA GM’s who would they rather have, Amare Stoudemire or Elton Brand, at least half might’ve said Brand who at the time seemed steadier and less prone to injury.Â Yet, while Stoudemire’s career has undergone a renaissance these past two years, Brand’s has been stuck in 3rd gear ever since he left the Clippers.
As I said at the outset, I’m not usually one for HOF debates, and this is by no means was intended as an attempt at persuading anyone that Stoudemire is a HOF player.Â What this exercise in thinking about Stoudemire has gotten me to realize is that when we step back and really think about it, the last decade in the NBA has turned out better than many had expected.Â The game and the players aren’t the only things that have gotten faster, so has our capacity for rushing to judgement.Â I’ve been reminded that the time may be now, but opportunities to reflect and reassess may not be–and therefore we have to seek them out, and be grateful when we stumble upon them.