In his case to be elected as a basketball hall of fame as a player, head coach Chauncey Billups received the strong campaigning of his current franchise star in the Portland Trail Blazers.
In an interview with Marc J. Spears of Andscape, Damian Lillard expressed his curiosity on why Billups remains away from basketball immortality despite holding noteworthy achievements in his playing days.
“How can he not be in the Hall of Fame?” said Lillard. “Everywhere he went he won. He won an NBA championship. Finals MVP. He’s a five-time All-Star. Won the [FIBA] World Cup. Head coach now. He’s done everything. Why not?”
Billups, who hung his sneakers in the aftermath of the 2013-14 season, became eligible for the hall of fame in 2018. But despite being a consistent nominee that started in the said year, he hasn’t been able to achieve finalist status yet.
As such, he has lucrative hardware and achievements that he can boast in providing his argument: an NBA champion, Finals MVP, five-time All-Star, multiple All-NBA team selections, and a gold medal winner with Team USA last 2010 FIBA World Cup in Turkey.
Billups’ No. 1 jersey was also retired by the Detroit Pistons, given the fact that he spearheaded the franchise in the mid-2000s and helped them appear in six-straight Conference Finals appearances. His playmaking ability, clutch genes, and remarkable leadership, also helped several teams to reach contention status. He averaged 15.2 points and 5.4 assists during his 17-year run as a professional.
For the former star point guard, being in the pantheon with all-time greats of the game would mean the world for the career and story he made.
“It would mean a lot to me to be elected,” Billups said. “It would just, again, show me that the people that vote on Hall of Fame actually understand basketball and they understand impact. I’ve never been a stats person. I’m an impact person. How impactful can you be? What’s the use even right now as a coach? I say this all the time to my guys, ‘What’s the use of having all those great stats if they don’t help you win?’ ”
As the nominees for the 2023 Naismith Hall of Fame were released last December, Billups again made it. But being able to make it to the cut will surely be the ultimate honor.
“I’m very proud of my basketball career. And who knows what’ll happen, but what I’ve done and what I did in my career, it can never be undone no matter what happens,” said Billups about his shot to become a Hall of Famer.