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.
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.
More news for Wednesday:
- Are NBA teams taking too many threes? Kevin Arnovitz investigates. In my opinion, the rule book advantages perimeter players on the offensive end, so players are simply responding to those incentives.
- One potential free agent is off the buyout market, as Ersan Ilyasova is reportedly signing with the Utah Jazz.
- Robert Flom put together five unconventional trade packages for the Clippers.
- With trade season in mind, here are some of the best value contracts in the league.
- On March 24, the Toronto Raptors will make history by having the first NBA broadcast composed entirely of women. David Aldridge spoke with play-by-play announcer Meghan McPeak about the occasion.
- The Ringer has its triweekly power rankings and some thoughts about Luke Kennard in the Clippers section.
- After an All-Star Sunday dedicated to HBCUs, players spoke about the impact of the league’s messaging.
- Marc Stein covered an All-Star Game like no other (which happened to be the NBA’s 70th despite the lack of fanfare) and shared the experience.