Mel Daniels Finally Receives Long Overdue Hall of Fame CallMel Daniels has long been one of the ABA's Unsung Heroes but he has finally received the overdue recognition that he so richly deserves: Daniels is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's 2012 class. Daniels won the 1968 Rookie of the Year award as a member of the Minnesota Muskies in the ABA's first season and then he helped lead the Indiana Pacers to three ABA championships (1970, 1972-73) while winning two ABA regular season MVPs (1969, 1971). Daniels captured three ABA rebounding crowns (1968-69, 1971), ranked second in that category three other times (1970, 1972-73) and is the league's all-time rebounding leader (9494 rebounds, with a 15.1 rpg average that ranks second in ABA history behind only Artis Gilmore). Daniels played eight years in the ABA but after the ABA-NBA merger in 1976 injuries limited Daniels' NBA career to just 11 games.
Jerry Colangelo, the Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board, deserves a lot of credit for pointing the Hall of Fame in the right direction after decades during which that ship sailed wildly off course by largely ignoring the contributions made by ABA legends like Daniels and Artis Gilmore. When I interviewed Colangelo during the 2010 All-Star Weekend I specifically asked him about creating a special ABA Hall of Fame Committee to reexamine the careers of Daniels, Gilmore, Roger Brown and other great ABA players; Colangelo was non-committal about that idea at the time but he did pledge to do something about "a number of those players who slipped through the cracks." This is the second year of the ABA Committee's existence and it has already corrected two huge oversights by honoring Gilmore and Daniels.
I have insisted for many years that ABA Numbers Should Also Count and, while I am not seeking any credit for the Hall of Fame honor that Gilmore and Daniels fully earned with their high quality play, I do sincerely hope that my advocacy on their behalf had some impact.
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posted by David Friedman @ 3:42 PM