For the third straight year, former Sacramento Kings great, Chris Webber, is a finalist for the Naismith 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, Golden State traded the star big to the Washington Bullets, where he spent four seasons.
Before the 1998-99 lockout shortened season, Sacramento sent 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, leading the Kings to six straight playoff runs, 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 half before moving on to Detroit and finally back to the Warriors where he began his career.
Webber finished his career with 17,182 points, 8124 rebounds, 3,526 assists, 1197 steals and 1200 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. He 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 career as a player.
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, 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 and made the All-NBA first team three times. He was also named the 1982-82 NBA's Comeback Player of the Year.
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."