NBA news: 2019 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists announced
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2019 Naismith Hall of Fame finalists announced

Ben Wallace, Pistons

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame released its list of finalists for the 2019 class on Friday. It is comprised of 13 former coaches, players, and officials, several of whom have been nominated in years past.

Among them is current TNT analyst Chris Webber. A five-time All-Star and five-time All-NBA honoree, he was first named a finalist for the Hall of Fame last year, but ultimately lost out to the likes of Steve Nash, Jason Kidd, Ray Allen, and Grant Hill. Webber averaged 20.7 points, 10.0 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game during his 15-year NBA career. He finished fourth in MVP voting in 2000-01, after leading the Sacramento Kings to a 55-27 record. He never won a championship in the NBA, nor with the University of Michigan’s famed “Fab Five” in college, where he’s most remembered for calling a timeout his team didn’t have in the waning moments of the 1993 NCAA title game against North Carolina.

Ben Wallace, a first-time finalist, is the other name on this list most notable to modern-day NBA fans. Undrafted out of Division II’s Virginia Union in 1996, Wallace went onto establish himself as one of the best defenders in league history, tying Dikembe Mutombo with four Defensive Player of the Year awards, the most of all time. Wallace, almost a complete non-entity offensively, averaged 5.7 points, 9.6 rebounds, 1.3 steals, and 2.0 blocks per game over his 16-year NBA career. In 2004, he was an integral part of a Detroit Pistons team that defeated the star-studded Los Angeles Lakers in the NBA Finals.

Other player finalists for the 2019 class are Jack Sikma, Bobby Jones, Paul Westphal, Sidney Moncrief, Marques Johnson, the WNBA’s Teresa Wetherspoon. Coaches Eddie Sutton, Bill Fitch, Leta Andrews, and Barbara Simmons are also up for induction, in addition to longtime NBA referee Hugh Evans.

The Naismith Memorial Class of 2019 will be announced in April, at the Final Four in Minneapolis.