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Clippings: Meet the 2021 finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame

There are two former Clippers in this class.

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Los Angeles Clippers v Utah Jazz - Game Six Photo by Gene Sweeney Jr/Getty Images

The Basketball Hall of Fame has released its finalists for the 2021 class, and two former Clippers made the cut.

First up is Los Angeles-born Paul Pierce, who ended his career with the team. Pierce earned the honor despite his two-year stint with the Clippers, which was fairly disastrous for both parties, though it was a nice capper for the Inglewood product to spend his final NBA seasons in his hometown. If you have favorite moments of Pierce as a Clipper, feel free to share, because they are eluding my memory. The forward will undoubtedly go into the Hall in a Celtics jersey if he is indeed voted in.

Marques Johnson is the other former Clipper among the finalists. He played 157 games for the Clippers from 1984 to 1986, and earned an All-Star nod in 1986, before a neck injury prematurely ended his career. Johnson was a five-time All-Star and three-time all-NBA honoree, as well as an NCAA champion and college player of the year at UCLA. Like Pierce, the best years of Johnson’s career were spent elsewhere — in his case, Milwaukee, but his Clippers tenure is nothing to sneeze at.

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Boston Celtics
Marques Johnson averaged 21.0 points and 7.0 rebounds per game his career, and 18.3 points and 5.6 rebounds as a Clipper.
Photo by Dick Raphael/NBAE via Getty Images

The two are joined by 12 other finalists, including Chris Bosh, Chris Webber, Ben Wallace, Tim Hardaway, Michael Cooper, Yolanda Griffith, Lauren Jackson, Jay Wright, Marianne Stanley, Rick Adelman, Leta Andrews, and Bill Russell as a coach.

One former (and current) Clipper who was listed as a nominee but did not make the cut as finalist is Chauncey Billups. As a former Finals MVP, presumably Billups’ time will come.

The finalists will be whittled down to the Hall of Fame inductees on May 16.

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