Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce Headline 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Finalists

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 9, 2021

Miami Heat's Chris Bosh (1) slides between Boston Celtics players Kevin Garnett (5) and Paul Pierce (34) during the second half of a NBA basketball game in MIami, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012. The Heat won 120-107. (AP Photo/J Pat Carter)
J Pat Carter/Associated Press

The Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 14 finalists for its 2021 class, a group headlined by Chris BoshPaul Pierce, Lauren Jackson and Bill Russell. 

Russell was already inducted as a player in 1975. This time around, he'll be judged on his coaching credentials, having spent eight seasons in the role with the Boston Celtics, Seattle Supersonics and Sacramento Kings.

Here's the full list of finalists:

  • Rick Adelman 
  • Leta Andrews
  • Chris Bosh
  • Michael Cooper
  • Yolanda Griffith 
  • Tim Hardaway
  • Lauren Jackson
  • Marques Johnson
  • Paul Pierce
  • Bill Russell
  • Marianne Stanley
  • Ben Wallace
  • Chris Webber
  • Jay Wright

This is Pierce's first year on the Hall of Fame ballot, while Bosh was unable to make it through to enshrinement in 2020. Bosh might have more luck this time around considering the loaded 2020 class. Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings all received the call.

Pierce was a 10-time All-Star and four-time All-NBA player. He ended his career averaging 19.7 points, 5.6 rebounds and 3.5 assists while shooting 36.8 percent from three-point territory. His 2,143 made threes are ninth-most in NBA history. Guiding the Boston Celtics to a title in 2007-08 and winning Finals MVP almost certainly put Pierce's candidacy over the top.

Bosh made 11 All-Star teams and likely would've added a few more appearances had health issues not forced him out of the league in 2016. The 36-year-old averaged 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds over 13 seasons and was an integral piece of the Miami Heat's two NBA championships in 2012 and 2013.

Like Pierce and Bosh, Jackson seems a safe bet for induction.

A three-time MVP and seven-time All-Star, the Australian center has the second-most win shares (73.03) in WNBA history, per Basketball Reference. That total is even more impressive considering she only spent 12 seasons in the league and was limited to 22 games over her final two years.

Jackson was also ahead of her time in that she was a non-traditional big. Her 436 three-pointers are 17th all time in the WNBA.

No finalist may be more difficult to read than Webber.

As a member of the "Fab Five" at Michigan, the 48-year-old left a big legacy on the college game. He proceeded to be a dynamic forward in the NBA before persistent knee problems robbed him of what would've been a more decorated career. The six playoff trips Webber had with the Sacramento Kings have only looked better in retrospect given how little the franchise has won since his departure in 2004.

Still, Basketball Reference only gives Webber a 14.6 percent probability of becoming a Hall of Famer based on his resume.