Pierce, Collins lead 1st-time nominees for basketball hall

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Boston Celtics star Paul Pierce and longtime player, coach and broadcaster Doug Collins lead the first-time nominees announced Tuesday for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Also making their debut as candidates are Michael Cooper, Howard Garfinkel, Lou Henson, Val Ackerman, Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson. Finalists are scheduled to be announced in early March — in the timeframe of NBA All-Star weekend, the Hall of Fame said, though it’s unclear if an actual All-Star event will take place — and those elected would be unveiled in early April, at the NCAA Final Four, if that happens as planned.

Other returnees to the ballot, the Hall said, include Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Richard Hamilton, Bob Huggins, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber, Jay Wright, Swin Cash and Becky Hammon.

The Class of 2021 Enshrinement ceremony is scheduled to take place in Springfield next September. The Class of 2020 ceremony, headlined by Lakers star Kobe Bryant, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been rescheduled for May 13-15 in Uncasville, Conn.

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