Stanley, Wallace and Webber named finalists for Basketball HOF originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced its finalists for the Class of 2021 on Tuesday. The list, consisting of nine players and five coaches, features some exceptional D.C. basketball figures.
Among the nine first-time finalists is NCAA national champion and former WNBA Coach of the Year Marianne Stanley. Stanley spent over a decade of her 44-year coaching career with the Washington Mystics and currently serves as the head coach of the Indiana Fever. On the collegiate level, she led her teams to three NCAA Final Four appearances (1983, 1985, 1996), including a national championship with Old Dominion in 1985.
Stanley is joined by former Wizards/Bullets players Chris Webber and Ben Wallace who are finalists for the second time after missing out in 2020.
Webber, the No. 1 pick in the 1993 draft and a five-time NBA All-Star, spent four of his 15 NBA seasons in Washington where he and Wallace helped usher in the Wizards era.
Wallace went undrafted in 1996, after graduating from Div. II Virginia Union College, but found a home in Washington where he spent three seasons before becoming one of the most prolific defensive players in NBA history. He went on to become an NBA champion in his first stint with the Detroit Pistons. After retiring in 2012 as a four-time Defensive Player of the Year with as many All-Star appearances, the Pistons retired his No. 3.
Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce and Tim Hardaway are also in contention for enshrinement in a star-studded class, but no name sticks out more than eleven-time NBA champion Bill Russell, who is eligible for induction as a coach.
Russell was inducted to the Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1975 and went on to add two more NBA titles to his resume as the league's first Black coach. If selected, he will become just the fifth Hall of Famer inducted as both a player and a coach.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame will announce the Class of 2021 on May 16.