On Tuesday, the Naismith Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., announced the 14 finalists for induction this year. The finalists that will be considered were announced Tuesday afternoon on The Jump on ESPN. In total, nine players and five coaches are up for debate. Here is a look at some of the notable names:
The 10-time All-Star is as close to a sure thing as this class gets. Pierce retired in 2017 after playing 20 seasons in the NBA. The 6-foot-7 small forward was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1998 and played an illustrious career in Beantown. He was picked 10th in 1998 and made the All-Rookie first team that season.
He made slow improvements each season before finally breaking through in his fourth season, making his first All-Star team and leading the Celtics to an Eastern Conference Finals appearance. Pierce continued to make the All-Star team every year through 2006, but the Celtics struggled on the court and did not make it past the second round. But all that changed in 2008 when the Celtics acquired fellow All-Stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. Boston won 66 games and beat the Lakers in the NBA Finals in six games. Pierce was awarded NBA Finals MVP for his efforts. He averaged 22 points per game in the series.
He would go on to make four more All-Star teams and finish All-NBA Second Team in 2009 before being traded to Brooklyn in 2013. Pierce would never make the All-Star team during his stops in Brooklyn, Washington and L.A. but was still a key contributor during the stretch. He retired after the 2017 season.
The power forward is back on the ballot this season after missing out on enshrinement last season. Bosh is perhaps best known for his involvement on the legendary big three team in Miami with Lebron James and Dwyane Wade, but Bosh had a successful career before arriving in South Florida.
"I'm actually speechless" – @ChrisBosh finding out live on #TheJump that he is a @HoopHall Class of 2021 Finalist. Big thanks to Chris' wife @MrsAdrienneBosh for helping us pull off this surprise – just so cool. pic.twitter.com/ZG5XXiRQ7P
— Rachel Nichols (@Rachel__Nichols) March 9, 2021
After one season at Georgia Tech, the 6-11 power forward was drafted fourth overall by the Toronto Raptors in the stacked 2003 NBA Draft. He was picked four spots after James and between Carmelo Anthony and Wade. Bosh was selected All-Rookie Second Team in 2004 and went on to make five All-Star teams north of the border. The Raptors saw minimal success during Bosh’s tenure, only making the playoffs twice, and in 2010, he bolted for Miami.
In Miami, Bosh was third banana to James and Wade but was still a key contributor. He made the All-Star team every season and won two titles (2012, 2013) with the Heat before his career ended earlier than expected in 2016 due to blood clots. Bosh spoke after the announcement.
Two of Bosh’s fellow draft mates, James and Anthony, are still playing today, and Bosh sad he wishes he could still be out there performing.
Ultimately, Bosh is still proud of his career and what it was.
The official 2021 class will be announced on May 16, right after the 2020 class is enshrined on May 13-15. The 2021 class’ ceremony is scheduled to be in September, but an exact date will be determined closer to the May announcement.