Celtics' Pierce, Storm great Jackson highlight 1st-time Hall of Fame nominees
MARK RALSTON / AFP / Getty

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame unveiled the eligible candidates for the 2021 class, the museum announced Tuesday.

Highlights from this year's crop of first-time nominees include former NBA stars Paul Pierce and Michael Cooper, past WNBA MVPs Lauren Jackson and Yolanda Griffith, current Florida State coach Leonard Hamilton, former WNBA president and current Big East commissioner Val Ackerman, and Paul Westhead, who found success at Loyola Marymount before coaching NBA and WNBA teams to championships.

Holdover nominees include former All-Stars, such as Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Richard Hamilton, Tim Hardaway, Shawn Marion, Ben Wallace, and Chris Webber on the men's side and Swin Cash and Becky Hammon among the women.

Some of the well-known coaches on the shortlist include Rick Adelman, Cotton Fitzsimmons, Bob Huggins, George Karl, Marianne Stanley, and Jay Wright. Baylor women's coach Kim Mulkey remains on the ballot as a player after being inducted in 2020 for coaching.

Among contributors eligible for enshrinement are sportscasters Marv Albert and Curt Gowdy. The latter served as president of the Hall of Fame, and the institution's annual award for members of the media bears his name.

Croatian great Toni Kukoc, best known to stateside fans for his contributions toward the late 1990s Chicago Bulls dynasty, is again nominated by the international committee.

The inductees from the North American men's and women's committees will be announced in March. The remainder will be unveiled in early April when next year's NCAA Final Four takes place. The ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts, is slated to take place next September.

Due to the pandemic, the 2020 Hall of Fame class's induction ceremony is also slated to be held in 2021 from May 13-15. The 2020 class features:

  • Patrick Baumann, contributor
  • Kobe Bryant, player
  • Tim Duncan, player
  • Tamika Catchings, player
  • Kevin Garnett, player
  • Kim Mulkey, coach
  • Barbara Stevens, coach
  • Eddie Sutton, coach
  • Rudy Tomjanovich, coach
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Celtics' Pierce, Storm great Jackson highlight 1st-time Hall of Fame nominees
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