Former Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce spent 15 of his 19 NBA seasons with the Celtics, winning a championship and Finals MVP trophy in 2008. File Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo
March 9 (UPI) -- Boston Celtics great Paul Pierce and former Toronto Raptors and Miami Heat star Chris Bosh are among the 14 finalists in the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class, it was announced Tuesday.
Former NBA coach Rick Adelman, five-time NBA champion Michael Cooper, current Villanova men's basketball coach Jay Wright, seven-time WNBA All-Star Yolanda Griffith, three-time WNBA MVP Lauren Jackson, ex-WNBA coach Marianne Stanley and Bill Russell joined Pierce and Bosh as first-time finalists this year.
Russell, who was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1975, is a finalist for the 2021 class as a coach. He was the first Black head coach in the NBA and guided the Celtics to back-to-back titles in 1968-69.
Also named a finalist in this year's class: Detroit Pistons great Ben Wallace; five-time NBA All-Star Tim Hardaway; five-time NBA All-Star Chris Webber; five-time NBA All-Star Marques Johnson; coach Leta Andrews, the all-time winningest high school coach.
"While our timeline of events over the past year has been adaptable and reimagined due to the global pandemic, we have never wavered in our commitment to renovating our beautiful museum and recognizing the greats of the game who deserve to be immortalized there," Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame said in a statement.
"Revealing the finalists for the Class of 2021 today is an exciting step toward honoring the men and women who have contributed greatly to the game we celebrate."
Pierce, who is a first-time nominee, spent 15 of his 19 NBA seasons with the Celtics, winning a championship and Finals MVP trophy in 2008. He is a 10-time All-Star selection and finished his career second on the Celtics' all-time scoring list -- behind only John Havlicek.
Bosh was first nominated with the 2020 class, but he wasn't named a finalist. His NBA playing career abruptly ended in 2016 after 13 seasons because of a blood clot issue.
The 11-time All-Star selection and two-time NBA champion officially retired in 2019 as a member of the Heat.
Chauncey Billups, Richard Hamilton, Becky Hammon and Swin Cash were among the notable nominees who didn't make the cut for the 2021 class.
The entire Class of 2021 will be revealed on May 16. The 2021 class is scheduled to be inducted in Springfield, Mass., in September.