Three Sacramento icons have been named finalists for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame: Kings great Chris Webber, Kings head coach Rick Adelman, and Monarchs legend Yolanda Griffith.
Those three are among the 14 finalists for this year’s class. The list includes former NBA players Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Michael Cooper, Ben Wallace, Marques Johnson, and Tim Hardaway; WNBA great Lauren Jackson; former coaches Bill Russell and Leta Andrews; and current coaches Jay Wright (NCAAM) and Marianne Stanley (WNBA).
This is the fifth straight time Webber has been a finalist, and his exclusion from the Hall thus far is a continuous topic of discussion. He was a three-time state champion in high school and the National Player of the Year as a senior. Webber then led the Michigan Fab Five to two straight national championship games, though it’s unclear how that factors into his case since those wins were vacated.
Webber was the top pick in the 1993 NBA Draft and subsequently won Rookie of the Year. He was a five-time All-Star and five-time all-NBA honoree, and the best player on the Kings teams that were perennial contenders in the early 2000s.
The coach of those teams, Rick Adelman, is up for the Hall this year as well. He has the ninth-most wins of any coach in NBA history, and six of the individuals in front of him are already Hall of Famers. Remarkably, Adelman never won Coach of the Year, but coaches with his longevity and success have historically been rewarded.
Sacramento Monarchs great Yolanda Griffith was also named a finalist. Griffith was the no. 2 pick by the Monarchs in 1999 and proceeded to win MVP and DPOY that season. She was an eight-time All-Star and five-time all-WNBA honoree and led Sacramento to its lone WNBA title in 2005, when she was named the Finals MVP.
For her career, Griffith is tied for 15th overall in rebounds, incidentally with fellow finalist Lauren Jackson. She also ranks 9th in WNBA history in total win shares and is a two-time Olympic gold medalist.
Of the three, Griffith would appear to have the best chance of being inducted into the Hall with her spectacular resume, but Webber and Adelman are no slouches either. Best of luck to all three Sacramento legends!