Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Paul Pierce, Bill Russell (as a coach) among Hall-of-Fame finalists

Celtics star Paul Pierce, Los Angeles Lakers guard Michael Cooper and 11-time NBA All-Star Chris Bosh lead a list of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

The list announced Tuesday also includes six other first-time finalists: former NBA coach Rick Adelman, two-time NCAA champion and Villanova coach Jay Wright, two-time Olympic gold medalist Yolanda Griffith, three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson and former WNBA coach of the year Marianne Stanley, plus Hall-of-Famer and Celtics legend Bill Russell for an induction as a coach.

Russell, who was inducted into the Hall-of-Fame as a player in 1975, won 11 NBA titles while playing for the Celtics and became the NBA's first Black head coach in 1966 while as an active player. He led Boston to back-to-back NBA titles in 1967-68 season and 1968-69 campaign respectively.

Rounding out the list of Hall-of-Fame finalists are Leta Andrews, the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female; Michigan's "Fab Five" member and five-time All-NBA forward Chris Webber; 2000 Olympic gold medalist point guard Tim Hardaway; five-time NBA All-Star Marques Johnson and four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year big man Ben Wallace.

The Class of 2021 will officially be announced on May 16, with the enshrinement ceremony to take place in Springfield, MA. Though there is no exact date, it is to be held at some point in September.

The Hall class of 2020 ceremony, headlined by Kobe Bryant, Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan, was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic and has been rescheduled for May 14-16 in Uncasville, Connecticut. 

Joel Pavón

Photo used courtesy of Getty Images

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