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Lauren Jackson leads 1st-time nominees for basketball hall

Storm legend Lauren Jackson leads a group of first-time nominees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Credit: Christian Petersen
Swin Cash, Lauren Jackson and Sue Bird of the Seattle Storm celebrate after defeating the Phoenix Mercury in Game Two of the Western Conference Finals on September 5, 2010 in Phoenix. (Photo: Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — Storm legend Lauren Jackson leads a group of first-time nominees for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2021.

Also making their debut on the list of candidates are Paul Pierce, Doug Collins Michael Cooper, Howard Garfinkel, Lou Henson, Val Ackerman, and Yolanda Griffith. 

There are a total of 8 nominees with ties to Seattle.  Besides LJ, former teammate Swin Cash is on the list.  

Credit: KING 5 Sports
2021 Naismith Hall of Fame nominees were announced today and eight had ties to the Sonics and Storm.

Legendary coach George Karl made the cut.  He coached 7 of his 27 seasons in the NBA with the Sonics.  In six of those seasons, he won 55 games or more. His long-time assistant Tim Grgurich makes the list, too.

Original Sonics owner Sam Schulman is a nominee.  So is former Sonics sharp shooter Dale Ellis.  He's seventh all-time in Sonics history for career points.

Marques Johnson was a broadcaster for the Sonics.  But he's up for the Hall as a player.  Paul Westhead was an assistant coach in the team's last season in Seattle.

Finalists are scheduled to be announced at NBA All-Star Weekend and those elected would be unveiled at the NCAA Final Four. 

The Class of 2021 Enshrinement ceremony is scheduled to take place in Springfield next September. 

The Class of 2020 ceremony, headlined by Lakers star Kobe Bryant, was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic and has been rescheduled for May.