Chris Webber, shown in 2002, joined Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and several others as part of a decorated class inducted Sunday into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. File Photo by Christine Chew/UPI | License Photo
May 17 (UPI) -- Chris Bosh and Chris Webber will enter the Basketball Hall of Fame in the same year as Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett as part of a decorated list of new entrants formed due to COVID-19 delays.
The two class enshrinements in one calendar year mark a historic first for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.
Bryant, Duncan and Garnett were scheduled to be inducted Aug. 29, but their enshrinement ceremony was delayed until Saturday at Mohegan Sun Casino and Resort in Uncasville, Conn.
Webber, Bosh and Paul Pierce are part of the 2021 class, which was announced Sunday and is set for enshrinement Sept. 11 at the Hall of Fame.
"Words cannot express my gratitude to everyone who has been on this journey with me," Bosh tweeted Sunday.
"Basketball has been one of the greatest gifts allotted to me in this life. This honor is my legacy. Thank you to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, the NBA and to every one of you that has supported me throughout my career."
The Veterans Committee and Women's Veterans Committee also elected Bob Dandridge and Pearl Moore, respectively, for induction in September.
Chicago Bulls legend Toni Kukoc received a Hall of Fame nod from the International Committee.
Clarence Jenkins will enter the Hall of Fame in September as an early African American Pioneers Committee honoree. Val Ackerman, Cotton Fitzsimmons and Howard Garfinkel were elected as contributors.
Bill Russell, who already is in the Hall of Fame as a player, will be enshrined as a coach as part of the 2021 class. Rick Adelman, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Ben Wallace and Jay Wright are among the other members of the 2021 class.
Patrick Baumann, Tamika Catchings, Kim Mulkey, Barbara Stevens, Eddie Sutton and Rudy Tomjanovich were among the other entrants inducted Saturday as part of the 2020 class.
Kobe, Duncan, Garnett among most-decorated
The 2020 inductees are among the most-decorated in the history of the Hall of Fame. Michael Jordan served as Kobe's presenter Saturday in Uncasville. Kobe's widow, Vanessa Bryant, spoke on behalf of her late husband, who died in a plane crash Jan. 26, 2020, in Calabasas, Calif.
"There will never be anyone like Kobe," Bryant said Saturday. "Kobe was one of a kind. He was special. He was humble, off the court. He was bigger than life."
Kobe Bryant is widely recognized alongside Jordan as one of the best players in NBA history. The 18-time All-Star and 2007-08 NBA MVP won five championships with the Los Angeles Lakers. He was a 15-time All-NBA selection, a 12-time All-Defensive Team selection and won two scoring titles.
He claimed NBA Finals MVP honors twice.
Duncan, 45, matched Bryant's five titles and was a three-time NBA Finals MVP. He was a 15-time All-Star, All-NBA and All-Defensive Team selection and the centerpiece of a San Antonio Spurs dynasty in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Duncan spent his entire 19-year tenure with the Spurs. Bryant spent his entire 20-year tenure with the Lakers. Former Spurs teammate, and fellow Hall of Famer, David Robinson presented Duncan for his enshrinement speech.
Former Spurs stars Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker attended the ceremony in support of Duncan.
"It was an honor sharing the court with you guys," Duncan said. "Thank you for everything. Thank you for your friendship, brotherhood and all the experiences we shared on that court."
Garnett was a 15-time All-Star and was the 2003-04 NBA MVP. He won his lone championship against Bryant's Lakers in 2008. Garnett, 44, was a 12-time All-Defensive Team selection, a nine-time All-NBA selection, the 2007-08 Defensive Player of the Year and a four-time rebounding champion.
Garnett spent his first 12 years with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He joined the Boston Celtics in 2007. He spent the final three seasons of his career with the Brooklyn Nets and Timberwolves and retired in 2016.
Fellow Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas presented Garnett.
"I played the game hard and with a passion," Garnett said. "Congratulations to Duncan and Kobe. I looked forward to all the battles. Thank you for taking me to another level. It's an honor to go in the Hall of Fame with [Kobe and Duncan]."
2021 Hall of Fame class
2020 Hall of Fame class
Los Angeles Lakers Kobe Bryant stands during a time out against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden in New York City during a game on January 26, 2014. Bryant was killed in a helicopter crash with his 13-year-old daughter Gianna in Calabasas, Calif., on January 26, 2020. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo