Monday morning, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced their 2015 Hall of Fame class, and once again, a player with ties to the Washington Bullets/Wizards franchise is among the inductees. Former Washington Bullet Spencer Haywood was among the ten players inducted in this year's class. Here's a look at Haywood's bio from the Hall of Fame annoucement:
SPENCER HAYWOOD [Player] - Haywood joined the ABA in 1969 and then went on to play for 12 years in the NBA (1970-1983), where he scored 14,592 points, had 7,038 rebounds and won an NBA Championship with the Los Angeles Lakers in 1980. He is a four-time NBA All-Star (1972-1975) and two-time All-NBA First Team member (1973, 1974). Haywood was the leading scorer on the 1968 gold medal United States Olympic team. During his time with the ABA's Denver Nuggets, he was named ABA Rookie of the Year and ABA All Star Game MVP. He holds ABA single season records for most minutes played (3,808), most field goals made (986), most rebounds (1,637) and highest rebounding average (19.5). At the University of Detroit, he was a unanimous First Team All-America selection in 1969.
As you'll notice, there's no mention of Haywood's time in Washington, which is understandable. He only played 114 games with the Bullets at the tail end of his career, averaging 11.6 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. Still, it's unfortunate the Bullets don't get a mention, considering they did mention the ring he won with the Lakers. If you know anything about what happened with Spencer Haywood in the 1980 NBA Finals, you know it was actually a very low point in Haywood's life (which he's thankfully recovered from quite well).
Haywood isn't the only player with loose ties to the Bullets/Wizards franchise to be inducted recently. The Hall has inducted players who have played for the Bullets & Wizards in six of the last seven years. He joins Mitch Richmond (2014), Bernard King (2013), Ralph Sampson (2012), Gus Johnson (2010), Michael Jordan (2009), and Jerry Sloan (2009) as former players who have been inducted in the past seven years.
There are also two other small connections to the Washington in this year's Hall of Fame class. Former Bullet Andrew Gaze's father, Lindsay Gaze, a key figure in Australia's basketball history as a player and coach is being inducted. The other D.C. connection is George Raveling. He has no direct ties to the Wizards/Bullets franchise, but he grew up in the D.C. area, and has a unique non-basketball claim to fame: He has the original copy of Martin Luther King Jr.'s "I Have A Dream" speech.