Billy Packer belongs in the Hall of Fame 

July, 15, 2008
Hall of Fame Voice: From his days as an outstanding player at Wake Forest to his days on the sidelines as an assistant coach and a broadcaster, Billy Packer has enjoyed an incredible and substantive career in basketball. I have said this before, and I will say it again: Billy Packer should be in the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. After 34 years and more than 100 Final Four games, representing just a small part of his contribution to this game, Packer spent his career as a name and voice synonymous with college basketball. He teamed with Jim Thacker to form the duo of Thacker and Packer on ACC broadcasts, and he teamed with Dick Enberg and Al McGuire to form arguably the best three-man booth in broadcasting history. Packer has been a passionate, thoughtful and intelligent voice in the game for decades, and he deserves his due from the Hall of Fame.

Whether one likes Packer's style is a matter of taste, and I would never argue over a matter of taste. However, it is beyond reasonable argument that Packer has been one of the most important and influential voices in the game's history, and whether you liked the messenger had nothing to do with the quality and depth of the message. The Hall of Fame already includes broadcasters Chick Hearn and now Dick Vitale, so there is no reasonable excuse to exclude Packer. The game has had no better advocate and no more fervent voice. The game is much better for having had Billy Packer in it.

Summer League: If you want an idea of how competitive it is out there in the basketball world, watch some NBA summer league games. While it is easy for young players and media to focus on each NBA draft as the entry to a career in the NBA, it is not quite that simple. Each year, a new crop of hopefuls jump into the pool and has to compete against the entrants from the past decade. Many of the summer-league veterans can play in the NBA in the right situation, but very few can sustain a career in the league or be big-time contributors. Remember Malick Badiane from Senegal? He was drafted in 2003 by Houston and was considered "intriguing" because of his size, athleticism and wingspan. He has played in the German and French leagues, but he has never played a minute in the NBA.