Jamal Crawford was never the biggest star on any of his NBA stops in a 20-year career but for a lot of today’s players he changed the way NBA bench players are viewed.
Manu Ginobili was the other and he’s already in the Hall of Fame.
Crawford is one of only two men — Lou Williams is the other — to have been awarded the NBA’s Sixth-Man-of -the-Year Award three times.
He also owns the distinction of being the oldest player to ever have a 50-point game doing so at the age of 39 and 20 days.
Current Raptors’ point guard Malachi Flynn is a little biased as Crawford has been a guy in his corner since before he even got to the NBA, but he’s one of a number of players pushing for Crawford to join Ginobili in the Hall.
“Personally, for me, I believe he’s the greatest sixth man we’ve seen,” Flynn said recently “I think him and Ginobili are two of the best and for me I’m going to take Jamal. He’s done it with different teams. He’s scored 50 with four different teams I believe. Any situation he was in, he produced.
“And then just for the game of basketball, he does a lot for all the kids coming up in Seattle, Tacoma, just that whole area. He’s an ambassador of the game. I think he definitely deserves it,” Flynn said.
Flynn is very candid about his bias having been one of those Washington State NBA products that have benefited just from Crawford’s generosity with his time and experience.
“For me he was just someone who made it,” Flynn said. “That alone (showing him the possibility) was enough for me. I didn’t really get to know him until I was a little bit older, maybe high school age. Started developing a relationship with him then. He’s been good for me, whatever I need, whether it’s just talking about the situations I’m in or helping me with little parts of my game. He still plays in open gym, we have fun, talk a little smack or whatever. He’s just been a role model for all the guys (in the Seattle/Tacoma) area.”
Crawford still runs his annual summer Crawsover Pro-Am League which gets the entire community opening doors for up and coming players who haven’t reached the NBA playing alongside NBA players.
Crawford has a healthy dose of competition if he is to get in as a first-ballot inductee. Among those other first-timers on the ballot for the 2024 class are one of the greatest Raptors of all time in Vince Carter, long-time Bulls’ standout Joakim Noah, one of the greatest defenders of all time in Tyson Chandler as well as noted sharpshooter Kyle Korver.
Those still on the ballot and in the hunt for a Hall of Fame spot are another ex-Raptor Chauncy Billups who made his name with the Pistons, and former Phoenix Suns’ standouts Amare Stoudamire and Shawn Marion.
Enshrinement takes place next summer with the inductees announced in and around All-Star weekend.
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