A legendary Boston Celtics, a core part of the Heat championship teams, and one of the great interior defenders the game has seen headline the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class.
One day after the legendary class of 2020 was inducted into the Hall — a ceremony delayed by the pandemic — the Hall announced who would make up the 2021 Hall of Fame Class. Inductees with NBA ties include Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, and Ben Wallace as players, plus coaches Rick Adelman and Bill Russell.
“For the first time in our history, we’ll enshrine two Classes in one calendar year,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “We couldn’t be more excited to welcome the Class of 2021 to Springfield – the Birthplace of Basketball – where we can celebrate them and honor their remarkable achievements and contributions to the game.”
The class of 2021 includes:
CHRIS WEBBER — His resume is underrated by too many fans: 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 during the 1998-1999 season. Webber’s resume is more than just the NBA — this is the “Basketball Hall of Fame” — he was a central figure in the “Fab Five” at Michigan that went to two Final Fours, and revolutionized the college game.
BEN WALLACE — One of the best defensive centers ever to play the game. Wallace is a four-time Defensive Player of the Year, and was the anchor of the defense of the 2004 Pistons team that won a title. Wallace is an eight-time All-Defensive team member (five times first team), a three-time All-NBA player, and was a four-time NBA All-Star. He also led the league in rebounding twice.
PAUL PIERCE — A Boston Celtics legend, Pierce is an NBA champion (2008) and Finals MVP that year. He is a 10-time All-Star, and was top 10 in NBA history in free throws made and three-point field goals made when he retired.
CHRIS BOSH — Bosh was a scoring machine averaging 20.2 points a game in Toronto who completely remodeled his game to become the glue of the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat. In addition to the titles, Bosh’s resume includes being an 11-time All-Star and one All-NBA selection. Bosh also won an Olympic gold medal in 2008.
TONI KUKOC — Elected through the Hall’s International Committee, Kukoc won three rings as a member of the Jordan-era Bulls, plus was Sixth Man of the Year in 1996. Internationally, Kukoc is a five-time Euroscar European Player of the Year, a three-time EuroLeague MVP, and led Yugoslavia to a World Championships gold medal.
RICK ADELMAN – Adelman coached more than three decades in the NBA, compiling a record of 1042-749 (.582), and he is ninth all-time in coaching wins.
BILL RUSSELL — Already in the Hall as a legendary player, people forget that ollowing the retirement of legendary Celtics coach Red Auerbach in 1966, Bill Russell became the first Black head coach in NBA history. As a player-coach, Russell led the Boston Celtics to the 1968 NBA championship, becoming the first Black head coach to win an NBA title. The following season, Russell would again lead Boston to the NBA Finals and championship, his eleventh and final ring.
Other inductees in this class include Villanova coach Jay Wright, WNBA legends Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson.