For the third straight year, former Kings great Chris Webber is a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The five-time All-Star forward was one of 13 names announced on Friday afternoon.
Webber, 45, was the first overall selection in the 1993 NBA Draft out of Michigan. After winning the Rookie of the Year award, the Warriors traded the star big man to the Washington Bullets (now Wizards), where he spent four seasons.
Before the 1998-99 lockout shortened season, Sacramento traded All-Star shooting guard Mitch Richmond and veteran big man Otis Thorpe to Washington in exchange for Webber. Richmond is the lone Kings player from the Sacramento era to gain entrance to the Hall of Fame.
Once with Sacramento, Webber flourished. He led the Kings to six straight playoff appearances, including a run to the Western Conference Finals during the 2001-02 season.
The talented power forward made four consecutive All-Star teams as a member of the Kings, and another during his time in Washington. Webber made the All-NBA team five straight years in Sacramento, including a first team selection during the 2001-02 season.
After a devastating knee injury in May of 2003, Webber struggled to regain his status as an elite player. He was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in February of 2005, where he spent a year-and-a-half before moving on to the Detroit Pistons. Webber returned to where it all started, and finished his career with the Warriors.
Webber retired with 17,182 points, 8124 rebounds, 3,526 assists, 1,197 steals and 1,200 blocks in 831 regular seasons games. He posted career averages of 20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 4.2 assists during his 15 year career. The 15-year veteran appeared in 80 playoff games, including 53 as a member of the Kings.
In addition to Webber, former Kings head coach Paul Westphal was also named a finalist for his playing career.
Westphal is a first-time finalist after making it onto the ballot multiple times. He spent a little over two seasons coaching the Kings, beginning in the 2009-10 season and ultimately tallying a 51-121 record with Sacramento.
As a player, Westphal was known as an elite scorer during his 12-year career. Like Webber, he made the All-Star team five times. a. He also made the All-NBA first team three times. and was a named the NBA’s Comeback Player of the Year in 1982-83.
Webber and Westphal join former NBA players Marques Johnson, Jack Sikma, Ben Wallace, Sidney Moncrief and Bobby Jones on the ballot, as well as WNBA star Teresa Weatherspoon. Coaches Bill Fitch, Leta Andrews, Eddie Sutton and Barbara Stevens, as well as 28-year NBA referee, Hugh Evans, round out the list.
The Class of 2019 will be announced during the NCAA Final Four in Minneapolis, Minnesota in early April. According to the official press release, “a finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.”