Chris Webber, Ben Wallace headline Hall of Fame finalists announcement

Associated Press
7 Comments

CHARLOTTE — Chris Webber — a four-time All-NBA player, five-time All-Star, and part of the Fab Five at Michigan who helped change the game of college basketball — is back on the doorstep of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

This time he is joined by the defensive force that was Ben Wallace, as well as Bucks and UCLA legend Marques Johnson.

The finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame were announced Friday at a ceremony in Charlotte, home of the 2019 NBA All-Star Game. Who gets in will be announced in Minneapolis at the NCAA Men’s Final Four.

Here are this year’s list of Finalists with NBA ties:

CHRIS WEBBER — It’s his turn to get in. Webber has the resume: Four-time All-NBA player, five-time NBA All-Star, 1994 NBA Rookie of the Year, he averaged more than 20 points per game for nine seasons, and he led the NBA in rebounds per game in the 1998-1999 season. And that’s just in the NBA — remember this is the “Basketball Hall of Fame” so being a key part of the “Fab Five” at Michigan that went to two Final Fours, and more importantly revolutionized the college game, counts as well. He deserves to make the cut, hopefully, this time the voters put him in.

BEN WALLACE — A rock on the defensive end, he is a four-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, doing so in a five-year span — and the one year he didn’t win it he helped lead the Pistons to an NBA title (2004). He made the NBA All-Defensive team eight times (five times first team), three times made the All-NBA team, and was a four-time NBA All-Star. He also led the league in rebounding twice. If we’re going to talk about defense being half the game, then Wallas has to be considered.

MARQUES JOHNSON — The Milwaukee Bucks legend is a first-time nominee. He averaged 20.1 points and 7 rebounds per game in his 11-year career and was five-time NBA All-Star plus made the All-NBA team once. In college, he helped legendary coach John Wooden win his final NCAA title at UCLA, and in 1977 was named the National Collegiate Player of the Year.

BOBBY JONES — A legend in Philadelphia who helped the Sixers to their last NBA title back in 1983. Jones was a lock-down defender who was named to the NBA All-Defensive First Team eight straight years, plus he was a four-time All-Star and in 1983 won the Sixth Man of the Year award. Jones started his career in Denver when the Nuggets were in the ABA and he made the ABA All-Star team, All-Rookie Team,  and two times was on the league’s All-Defensive Team. He also has a silver medal from the disputed 1972 Olympics.

SIDNEY MONCRIEF — Playing for the Bucks and Hawks, Moncrief was a two-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year, made an All-NBA team, is a five-time All-Star and four times made the All-Defensive Team.

JACK SIKMA — An icon of the Seattle Supersonics, he helped lead that team to a title in 1979. Sikma is a seven-time All-Star is the only center in NBA history to lead the league in single-season free throw percentage at .922 (1987-88).

PAUL WESTPHAL — Westphal won a ring with the Boston Celtics in 1974, and in his career was a three-time All-NBA player and a five-time All-Star. He is a member of the Phoenix Suns Ring of Honor.

HUGH EVANS — A legendary referee, Evans officiated nearly 2,000 regular season NBA games, 170 NBA Playoff games, 35 NBA Finals games and four NBA All-Star games.

BILL FITCH [Coach] – Fitch coached in the NBA for 25 seasons, twice being named Coach of the Year. He led the Boston Celtics to a title in 1981 and still holds the highest winning percentage of any coach in Celtics history (.738).

Also nominated for the Hall of Fame.

• College coaching legend Eddie Sutton.

• Leta Andrews coached high school basketball for over fifty years and is the all-time winningest high school coach, male or female.

• Barbara Stevens is the fifth coach in NCAA women’s basketball history to reach 1,000 career wins, doing so over a 40-year career at the Division II level.

• Teresa Weatherspoon is a WNBA legend: Five-time WNBA All-Star and two-time WNBA Defensive Player of the Year. She was the first player to rack up 1,000 points and 1,000 assists in the WNBA. She also has an Olympic gold medal.

• Longtime NBA reporter Marc Stein and legendary Los Angeles Clippers announcer Ralph Lawler are the 2019 Curt Gowdy Media Award recipients.

• Del Harris, who has spent 50 years coaching and teaching the game, and Harry Glickman — the “father” of professional sports in Oregon — will be honored with lifetime achievement awards.