paul-pierce.jpg
Getty Images

On Tuesday, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame announced the list of candidates for the Class of 2021. Paul Pierce, Michael Cooper, Doug Collins and Lauren Jackson highlight the group of first-time nominees, which also includes Howard Garfinkel, Lou Henson, Val Ackerman and Yolanda Griffith.

Also returning to the ballot this year are former stars such as Chauncey Billups, Chris Bosh, Swin Cash, Richard Hamilton, Becky Hammon, Bob Huggins, Ben Wallace, Chris Webber and Jay Wright. The Class of 2021 will be unveiled during Final Four weekend, which is tentatively scheduled for April. The enshrinement ceremony will then be held in September.

Exact dates are still subject to change due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has already disrupted the Hall of Fame schedule. The Class of 2020, which includes Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan, Kevin Garnett and Tamika Catchings, has still not been enshrined. That ceremony is scheduled for April. 

One of the best players of his generation, Pierce is a lock to be selected. His 26,397 career points rank 16th all-time on the scoring list, and he made 10 All-Star Games, four All-NBA teams and won the 2008 title and Finals MVP with the Boston Celtics. He spent the first 15 seasons of his career with the Celtics, before going on to play for the Nets, Wizards and Clippers

Collins may be most well-known these days for his broadcasting work, but he was a four-time All-Star during his playing days with the Philadelphia 76ers and went on to a long coaching career that intersected with some of the game's greats. Most notably, he was in charge of the Bulls during the early part of Michael Jordan's career.

Cooper spent all 12 seasons of his NBA career with the Lakers, helping them to five titles with stellar defense. He was named Defensive Player of the Year in 1987, and made eight All-Defense appearances. Following his play days, he joined the coaching ranks and holds the exclusive honor of being the only person to win a title in the NBA, WNBA and G League. 

Jackson is one of the best players to ever grace the WNBA. During her 12-year career with the Storm, she helped them to two titles, winning three MVPs, three scoring titles and a Defensive Player of the Year Award along the way. Jackson also made eight All-WNBA appearances and seven All-Star Games. 

Garfinkel, who died in 2016, was a long-time scout, and started the influential Five-Star Basketball Camp. Henson, who died in July, was a legendary college coach, who is still the all-time wins leader at both Illinois and New Mexico State. Ackerman was the first president of the WNBA, serving from 1996-2005. Griffith was former WNBA MVP, champion, Defensive Player of the Year and All-Star with the Monarchs, Storm and Fever.