This was originally written in Sporting Life Arkansas. You can see the entire argument here.
It doesn’t matter how hard he wishes for it. Sidney Moncrief will never join the same pantheon of scorers to which his contemporary Bernard King belongs.
He’ll never master the lightning-quick turnaround jumper, never score nearly 33 points a game and never take Broadway by storm because of it. Moncrief won’t tear his knee’s anterior cruciate ligament, then improbably recover and again awe an entire nation by pouring in 28 points a game with a revamped repertoire of shots.
Moncrief didn’t do any of this before retiring in 1991 from an NBA career spent mostly in Milwaukee. Don’t expect the 55-year-old to defy the laws of nature and limits of his own talent by starting now.
Still, there’s another exclusive club to which King belongs that Moncrief should soon enter. It’s the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, which on Monday announced King and six other players and coaches will be inducted this September.
That King has been inducted, and not Moncrief, is flat wrong.
Sure, Moncrief couldn’t put the ball in the basket with the ease of King. But he did nearly everything else better. Moncrief was just as talented and accomplished a defender as King was a scorer, and offense and defense are supposed to carry equal weight in determining a player’s value. King had his scoring crown; Moncrief had two defensive player of the year awards – the only perimeter defender in NBA history to accomplish this.
There are plenty of other reasons why Moncrief should join King in the Hall of Fame.
Here are the top five: