Here's a question for the legions of basketball fans out there: Which former player is the most overlooked when it comes to earning induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame?
Kevin Pelton, a staff writer for ESPN, pondered the question last September. His answer? Jack Sikma.
If you have lived in this area for any length of time, you don't need to like basketball to know of Sikma.
"The Wichert Wonder'' attended St. Anne Community High School and led the Cardinals to a fourth-place finish in the 1974 IHSA Class A boys basketball tournament. He then moved onto Illinois Wesleyan University, where he had an outstanding career and honed his skills enough to be selected eighth overall in the 1977 NBA Draft by the Seattle Supersonics.
The NBA is where Sikma really sealed his reputation. Standing 6-foot-11 inches tall, Sikma was one of the best centers of his era. He was one of the top players on the 1979 Seattle team that won the NBA championship, and a seven-time All-Star in a 14-year career, which also included five years as a member of the Milwaukee Bucks.
Versatility was his trademark. Not only was he one of the top defensive centers in the game, he also possessed one of the most accurate shooting touches ever seen from a big man. He finished his NBA career with 17,287 points and 10,816 rebounds, and is one of only a handful of players to reach the 10,000 plateau in both categories.
Still, when the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 was announced earlier this week, Sikma was once again denied. But, maybe, those of who share a connection to Kankakee County can lend a helping hand to ensure that 2017 is the year for Sikma.
You can do so by visiting the Hall of Fame website, hoophall.com. Click on the "about the hall'' option at the top of the page and you will find a "contact us'' link. This choice will allow you to send a message to urge the induction of Sikma. Another year should not pass before this glaring omission is corrected.