Paul Pierce, Chris Bosh, Chris Webber Headline 2021 Basketball HOF Nominees

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistDecember 22, 2020

Boston Celtics' Paul Pierce holds the MVP trophy after winning the championship with a win over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 6 of the NBA basketball finals Tuesday, June 17, 2008, in Boston. (AP Photo/Winslow Townson)
Winslow Townson/Associated Press

Paul Pierce and Lauren Jackson headline the first-time nominees eligible for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame as members of the 2021 class. 

Pierce was in the studio for ESPN's The Jump as colleague Rachel Nichols made the reveal:

The Jump on ESPN @NBATheJump

🚨BREAKING NEWS🚨 👏👏👏 @Hoophall #NBA #NBATwitter #TheJump #KiaTipOff20 #21HoopClass https://t.co/EivXGvfDKT

Rachel Nichols @Rachel__Nichols

So fun getting to tell @PaulPierce34 he’s been nominated for the @HoopHall on live tv - we’re announcing the rest of the nominees now

Doug Collins, Michael Cooper and Yolanda Griffith were among the other first-timers. Returning nominees Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Richard Hamilton, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber will be hopeful of getting inducted after missing out in 2020.

The 2020 class boasted a ton of star power as Kobe Bryant, Tamika Catchings, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett all got the nod. As a result, some legendary stars on the fringe probably got overlooked.

Bosh is an 11-time All-Star and a two-time NBA champion. His selflessness was instrumental in helping the Miami Heat reach four straight NBA Finals during their Big Three era. The 36-year-old probably would've added more accolades if health problems hadn't forced him to stop playing in 2016.

Likewise, Webber would have an even stronger resume had he not undergone microfracture surgery in 2003. That knee injury ended a streak of four straight All-Star appearances, and he was never the same. Still, Webber made five All-Star and All-NBA teams, and he was a transformative figure in college basketball as part of the Fab Five at Michigan.

Wallace and Billups are intertwined since their best years came as the Detroit Pistons dominated the Eastern Conference in the mid-2000s. Wallace was a four-time Defensive Player of the Year and five-time All-NBA center, while Billups made three All-NBA and five All-Star teams. Together, they helped the Pistons win an NBA title in 2004 and reach the 2005 Finals.

In terms of the first-time nominees, Pierce and Jackson have a great shot at going in right away.

Pierce sits 19th all-time in scoring (26,397), and everybody above him is either a Hall of Famer or still active. The 43-year-old made 10 All-Star teams and was crowned the 2008 Finals MVP when the Celtics beat the Los Angeles Lakers in six games.

Jackson has a case to be considered the greatest player in WNBA history. A three-time MVP and two-time champion, her 73.03 career win shares are the second-most ever, per Basketball Reference, despite having played only 12 seasons. Jackson might have passed Catchings for the all-time lead had injuries not curtailed her time in the WNBA.