The list is as long as Michael Jordan's rambling, insulting and embarrassing speech (or whatever that was) last September in Springfield, Mass. Still, there is the worst when it comes to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and the worst is the timing of its induction ceremony.
It occurs every year after the more riveting and relevant ones in Canton and Cooperstown.
You feel magic when teary-eyed Emmitt Smith kisses his bronzed bust in Canton, or while Michael Irvin speaks emotionally to his family in the crowd about changing his raggedy ways, or after Terry Bradshaw points to the sky and talks with emotion to the memory of Art Rooney, the deceased owner of his Pittsburgh Steelers.
The same drama also happens on a regular basis in Cooperstown, where Rickey Henderson sent lumps to throats by evolving from boastful player to humble inductee. Not only that, Bill Mazeroski triggered a roaring standing ovation after he spoke for less than three minutes before ending in mid-sentence to become a sobbing mess.
As for poignant moments in Springfield -- you know, excluding when Jordan finally shut up -- well, uh.
Compared to those halls of fame for football and baseball, the one for hoops could fall off the face of the earth, and nobody outside of those working in the building would notice.
So the latest induction ceremony at the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday night in Springfield is deserving of yawns. It starts with the fact that one of its primary inductees is Scottie Pippen, the classic Robin, who nevertheless is considered worthy of Batman status by the voters for Naismith Basketball Hall of Famers.
Who votes for them, by the way?
"I know it's like a small committee that votes, but it's confidential, from the way that I understand it, but I think you would be better off to talk to (the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame) about that," said Tim Frank, among the NBA's top spokesmen, telling me what I already knew: Nobody knows who votes for Basketball Hall of Famers.
In contrast, the voting process for Baseball Hall of Famers isn't a clandestine operation. I know, because I'm a Baseball Hall of Fame voter. I receive a ballot every December with simple instructions, and they basically say you must consider the character and the integrity of candidates who have been retired as players for at least five years.
Although I don't vote for Pro Football Hall of Famers, I know the induction process is just as transparent. And, similar to Cooperstown, the operative word for Canton is "exclusive." That's because there are those who deserve entry into the baseball and football halls of fame who don't make it until years or decades later. There also are those who never make it.
As for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, if you can breathe, and if you've dribbled in your life, you're eligible.
Including this year's class, Springfield has 303 members.
How ridiculous is that? Well, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame was founded in 1959 -- which is 23 years after the Baseball Hall of Fame -- and there are 292 members in Cooperstown. The Pro Football Hall of Fame has fewer members than both of the others at 260, and it's been around since 1963.
Anyway, this year's Springfield induction class is typically bizarre. In addition to Pippen, you have Los Angeles Lakers owner Jerry Buss, which makes sense with his nine NBA championships, 16 Western Conference titles and two WNBA championships.
This also makes sense: Karl Malone, owner of two MVP awards, two gold medals and 14 All-Star Game trips.
This doesn't make sense: the other inductees.
Dennis Johnson and Gus Johnson? They were nice NBA players, but they're not Hall of Famers. Then you have whoever votes for these things selecting the entire gold-medal rosters and coaching staffs of the United States Olympic teams for 1992 and 1960.
I mean, if the NFL and Major League Baseball went down that path -- with their splendid collection through the decades of Big Red Machines, Purple People Eaters, Gas House and Over The Hill gangs -- the city limits of Canton and Cooperstown would have to expand into Michigan and New Jersey, respectively.
It gets worse: Maciel Pereira.
Who's that? Then again, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame wouldn't be true to itself without a few of those.
In case you're wondering, Pereira dribbled in three Olympics for Brazil, and he even helped his country win a gold medal during the 1963 world championships. If that didn't get the guy into Springfield, I guess it was his prestigious Order of Merit, an international basketball honor -- at least, that's what I'm told.
The other inductees are Cynthia Cooper (yawn), a women's basketball whiz for Southern Cal, the Houston Comets and Team USA during the Olympics and world championships, and Bob Hurley, who spent 39 years coaching St. Anthony High School of Jersey City, N.J.
Logic says Springfield is trying too hard to be all things hoops. There should be separate halls of fame for preps, women's basketball, those in international competition and entire teams.
Mostly, there should be just an NBA Hall of Fame.
"The commissioner (David Stern) has dealt with this subject before by just saying that we try to be a partner with this Hall of Fame (in Springfield), and that's what our plans continue to be, because we know that it honors the entire game of basketball," Frank said. "We're comfortable with that, and I don't see that changing."
So much for common sense.
Oh, I just found the voting criteria for entry into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame on its website.
It says the following:
There are 24 people on each of the four Honors Committees. They include Hall of Famers, basketball executives, media members and other contributors to the game. A core group of 12 people sit on all four committees. Twelve specialists are then added to the International Committee while 12 others are added to the Women's Committee. Twelve other specialists review both the Veterans Committee and the North American Committee.
These specialists have an intimate understanding of the specific category of play considered by their committee. A person needs a minimum of 18 votes from an Honors Committee to be Enshrined into the BHOF.
If the Honors Committee has not elected a candidate for five consecutive years, the person's candidacy will be suspended for five years and will not be considered during this time.
Following this five-year period, the candidate will be eligible to be reconsidered by the appropriate Screening Committee.
Sorry, I have to stop.
I'm getting a headache.