Preparing For Enshrinement

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame will welcome a star-studded 2021 class this Saturday in Springfield, Massachusetts. 

There should be plenty of highlights, from a historic first to some marquee names.

Bill Russell: The 11-time champion, already enshrined as a player, will become the first Black head coach ever inducted. He led the Celtics to two straight championships in 1968 and 1969.

Chris Bosh: The 11-time All-Star was drafted by the Toronto Raptors and immediately turned them into a respectable team with a 47-35 record in 2006-07 — the most wins in franchise history at the time. Then he joined Dwyane Wade and LeBron James in Miami for two championships. His offensive rebound and assist in the final seconds of Game 6 versus San Antonio is one of the biggest boards AND assists in Finals history.

Bosh’s career was cut short at 31 by blood clots, but his place in history is secure.

Paul Pierce: Hard to dispute this one — unless you’re ESPN (too soon?). “The Truth” is a 10-time All-Star and won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008. He earned the nickname for his cold-blooded crunch-time shots. In fact, when “clutch” stats became available in 1996 — for games within five points with five minutes left — Pierce ranked fourth from 1998-2017 behind only Dirk Nowitzki, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant.

Pierce hasn’t lost his sense of humor, recently speaking out about his brief time at ESPN: “You have to talk about LeBron all the time.” Those two have a long history.

Kings Day: Five-time All-Star and Sacramento legend Chris Webber will be inducted alongside coach Rick Adelman, the ninth-winningest coach in NBA history. The two have a storied past together: In 1998, Webber wanted out of Sacramento, but he changed his mind after one conversation with Adelman. They made the playoffs eight straight seasons.

In addition, Webber said the Fab Five will reunite and be in attendance.

Ben Wallace: The Detroit Pistons’ four-time All-Star and one-time champion will become the first undrafted player to be inducted. He’s tied with Dikembe Mutombo for the most Defensive Player of the Year Awards in league history (4).

You can watch on Saturday, 6:00 p.m. ET on NBA TV.