Paul Pierce, Bill Russell among 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame class

Published May 17, 2021, 11:06 AM

by Agence-France-Presse

In this file photo taken on March 02, 2020 former NBA player Paul Pierce attends the game between the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets at TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / AFP)

Paul Pierce, who played 15 of his 19 seasons in Boston and led the Celtics to the 2008 NBA title, was named Sunday to a 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame class that also includes two-time NBA champion Chris Bosh.

The announcement at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, came a day after Pierce watched his friend and former teammate Kevin Garnett be inducted in a belated ceremony enshrining the class of 2020 — which also featured the late Lakers icon Kobe Bryant.

Pierce and Bosh — who won titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013 — who  were selected as first-time finalists and headline a class that also features five-time All-NBA selection Chris Webber and four-time Defensive Player of the Year Ben Wallace.

Webber had been a finalist in each of the past five years.

Former Celtics great Bill Russell, who helped Boston to win 11 championships and was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a player in 1975, will be honored again with enshrinement as a coach.

Russell became the first Black head coach in NBA history when he took over for Red Auerbach on the Celtics bench in 1966.

He served as player/coach in his final three seasons with the Celtics, winning the NBA title in 1968 and 1969.

His coaching record with the Celtics was 162-83 in the regular season and 28-18 in the playoffs.

He later served as head coach of the Seattle SuperSonics from the 1973-74 season through 1976-77 and the Sacramento Kings in the 1987-88 season, amassing an overall record as an NBA head coach of 341-290 in the regular season and 34-27 in the playoffs.

Longtime NBA coach Rick Adelman and two-time NCAA collegiate champion head coach Jay Wright will also be inducted.

The player category also features two WNBA greats: Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson.

Griffith earned Finals Most Valuable Player honors in leading the Sacramento Monarchs to the 2005 WNBA title.

Australia’s Jackson was the WNBA’s MVP in 2003, 2007 and 2010 and was Finals MVP 2010 when she won her second championship with the Seattle Storm.

Jackson, who has also played club  basketball in South Korea and Europe, led Australia to World Championships gold in 2006 and to Olympic silver in 2000, 2004 and 2008.

She was on the Australian team that earned bronze at the 2012 London Games.