It’s a stellar year for Sacramento in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame as the 2021 class of inductees includes two of the greatest players to ever come through the city and one of the best coaches (if not the best) the Kings have ever had.
Sacramento Kings: Chris Webber
Webber’s accolades far precede his time with the Kings as tonight the former University of Michigan star will put on his orange jacket and head to the hall. Famously a part of the “Fab Five” including Juwan Howard, Jalen Rose, Jimmy King and Ray Jackson — the young stars would make it twice to the NCAA Finals without victory.
After his collegiate career, Webber was drafted to the Golden State Warriors. After a (very quick) stay he would go to the Washington Bullets/Wizards and in 1998, make his way to “basketball hell,” Sacramento.
Although he cried coming through cowtown, Webber would see some of his greatest career moments in Arco Arena, surrounded by a steady golden roar. Webber made four All-Star team appearances in the purple and black, and has four All-NBA accolades from his time with Sacramento.
Famously, Webber represents the glass true great era of basketball in Sacramento as part of the Greatest Show on Court. Alongside Doug Christie, Vlade Divac, Peja Stojakovic and Jason Williams, the entertainment factor was born and Sacramento became must-see tv.
2002 brought the Kings the closest they would ever be to an NBA title, falling short to the Los Angeles Lakers (and referees) in the Western Conference Finals. Webber’s jersey No. 4 was retired by the Sacramento Kings as that team continues to live on the hearts of Kings fans and sports fans at large.
Sacramento Monarchs: Yolanda Griffith
Griffith was selected to join the Monarchs second overall in the 1999 WNBA draft, two years after the league’s inception in 1997 . The 6’3 phenom would go on to win MVP of the league and Defensive Player of the Year in 1990.
Griffith was named to a WNBA All-Star team 7 times in her career, all donning the purple and black. After initial seasons making it to the playoffs but not seeing much success, the 2005 Sacramento Monarchs won the title lead by Finals MVP Yolanda Griffith, who averaged 17.3 points, 8.3 rebounds and 1.4 assists per game.
Griffith was named the the WNBA’s all-25 team this past Sunday as one of the best and most influential 25 players the league has ever seen. Her defensive grit will forever be ingrained in the minds of those who witnessed greatness back in 2005.
Sacramento Kings: Coach Rick Adelman
It’s so special that Adelman and Webber will get to this achievement through together, as their player/coach time in Sacramento overlapped for the entirety of Webber’s career. Coach Rick Adelman is referred to by many a Kings fan as Sacramento’s best coach, leading the team to playoffs every single year of his tenure with the team. In fact 2006 was the last year Sacramento ever sniffed a postseason game, aligning with Adelman’s exit.
Adelman steered that 2002 Sacramento Kings team to a No. 1 seed in a stacked Western Conference, blowing through the first two rounds only to lose the WCF in that controversial tailspin of a series.
There’s no question that these three figures highlight what was an amazing time to be a fan of Sacramento basketball. Congratulations to Chris Webber, Yolanda Griffith and Rick Adelman as they are enshrined tonight into sports history forever.