NBA icon Tom Chambers was selected to four All-Star Games, won the All-Star MVP award, and scored over 20,000 points.
The 6-foot-10 power forward also made NBA history in July 1988 when he became the league’s first unrestricted free agent by moving from the Seattle SuperSonics to the Phoenix Suns.
Tom Chambers poses in cowboy gear while at the Seattle SuperSonicsCredit: Getty
The power forward reached the NBA Finals with the Phoenix Suns in 1993Credit: Getty
Chambers was the surprise winner of the 1987 NBA All-Star MVP awardCredit: Getty
The 64-year-old is now a broadcaster for the SunsCredit: Getty
Yet despite all his accolades, the 16-year NBA veteran – who played in the 1993 NBA Finals with the Suns – has not been inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.
In December 2021, Chambers was nominated to the Hall of Fame for the first time but he did not become a finalist.
The 64-year-old is one of just two eligible players with 20,000 career points not in the Hall of Fame, alongside Antawn Jamison.
Many NBA insiders feel that he should receive the highest honor in basketball one day.
But Chambers is not expecting to be inducted anytime soon.
“Have I thought about it? Yes. Do I expect it? No. I really don’t,” Chambers said.
“It’d be unbelievable. It’d be the pinnacle of what I’ve done. First of all, it’d be shocking.”
The Colorado native entered the league in 1981 when he was selected by the then-San Diego Clippers as the No. 8 pick of the NBA Draft.
After two years at the Clippers, Chambers moved to the SuperSonics, where he thrived.
In 1987, he was named to the NBA All-Star Game as a late replacement for the injured Houston Rockets big man Ralph Sampson.
Chambers scored 34 points to be named the surprise MVP.
“You make the All-Star team, then you’re an All-Star,” Chambers told the Arizona Republic.
“And it really doesn’t matter how you got there. There’s no asterisk saying that I wasn’t on the team at first. In fact, I embraced that. It’s awesome.
“I went to that game not knowing if I was even deserving of being there, and yet I was able to come away with that cool trophy, to be able to hold it up.”
The following summer, Chambers helped transform the NBA landscape forever by becoming the league’s first unrestricted free agent.
Under a new collective bargaining agreement, players who had been in the league for at least seven seasons and were going into their third contract were allowed to benefit from unrestricted free agency.
Player movement had been extremely limited, with teams being allowed to match offers from other franchises and keep their star players.
Chambers met with the Suns and accepted a five-year, $9million contract, which proved groundbreaking.
“I felt like players were just excited for that to be happening and to have that opportunity at some point when it had never happened before,” Chambers told Fox Sports.
“It really opened up the market for a lot of people. There were a lot of people right after I signed that were just average players who were getting a lot of money — more money than I got.
“You really didn’t have any way of knowing what the market would bear, and after that it opened up.”
Chambers was a regular All-Star during his time at the Suns but his spell there was transformed with the arrival of Charles Barkley in the 1992-93 season.
The Suns made it to the NBA Finals where they lost 4-2 to Michael Jordan’s Chicago Bulls, with Chambers playing the role of sixth man.
He played two seasons with the Utah Jazz, playing backup to Karl Malone before eventually finishing his lengthy career in 1997.
Since retiring, Chambers has had a long-standing career as a Suns broadcaster.