On September 11, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame ushered in nine new inductees as part of its Class of 2021 ceremony. The prestigious honor went to six former NBA players and/or coaches including Rick Adelman, Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Bill Russell, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber; an NCAA Men’s Basketball head coach, Villanova’s Jay Wright; and a pair of perennial WNBA All-Stars, Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson. Russell, as it turns out, was inducted for a second turn, this time for his head coaching duties with the Boston Celtics from 1967 to ’69. For purposes of this article, we are going to focus on the sought-after NBA signatures of five of the Hall’s newest members. What makes them so special? What did they do to deserve basketball’s ultimate honor? With collector demand always high around HOF inductions, it’s of utmost importance to get your autographs authenticated by PSA.
Bosh, simply put, was a key piece of the Miami machine. During the course of his illustrious 13-year NBA career, he spent seven seasons battling for the Raptors up north before arriving in South Beach at the same time as LeBron James. Together, teaming with Heat fan favorite Dwyane Wade, they formed an incredible scoring trio that catapulted the Heat to four straight NBA Finals, winning two of them (2012 and ’13). Bosh was an 11-time All-Star who averaged 19.2 point and 8.5 rebounds per game. Though his career was cut short at age 32 due to precarious blood clots, his impact on the game is duly recognized and his unique, high-arching signature remains as collectible as ever to basketball fans of all ages.
Pierce is nicknamed “The Truth,” a moniker he earned during his 15-season stretch with the Boston Celtics. Arriving in 1998, he quickly led the Celtics to the postseason and to eventual glory in 2008 by guiding the C’s past the L.A. Lakers in the NBA Finals, four games to two. The two teams would battle back to the Finals in 2010, but the results spelled a different ending as the Lakers, led by Kobe Bryant, won in seven games. Pierce, a 10-time All-Star, averaged 20.7 points and 5.9 boards throughout his entire 19-year NBA career and was always a fan favorite in Beantown where his autograph remains on want-lists of countless Celtics fans. Note his distinct, heavily slanted and looping “P’s” for both his first and last name. Like his nickname, it’s the genuine signature from another Boston legend.
Russell earned more NBA championships than anyone else in history. He won nine rings as a player and two as a player/coach, all with the Boston Celtics. A standout center at the University of San Francisco, where he earned two NCAA titles, Russell landed in Boston in 1956 following some fancy trading maneuvers with the St. Louis Hawks by Celtics head coach Red Auerbach. His playing career was outstanding (22.5 boards and 15.1 points per outing), but his second induction into the Hall came as a result of his coaching acumen. In three seasons at the helm – note, as a player/coach – Russell led the Celtics to an overall record of 162-83 and a pair of NBA titles in 1968 and ’69. He was not a big signer during his playing days; in fact, as the story goes, he preferred shaking hands as opposed to giving someone an autograph. Now 87, Russell’s coveted signature is in great demand and his beautiful penmanship remains clearly legible for all to see.
Wallace was a defensive stalwart who inked his name in the NBA record books by virtue of his ability to defend. Standing 6-foot-9, he alternated between playing center (mostly) and power forward, but it was his defensive prowess and shot-blocking ability that set him apart. He was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year four different times, a record he shares with fellow HOFer Dikembe Mutombo. A prolific rebounder, he averaged 9.6 boards and two blocked shots per game while playing for five teams over a 16-year span. He spent the majority of his NBA career in the Motor City and helped the Pistons secure back-to-back NBA Finals appearances, winning it all in 2004. He is one of only five players in league history to record more blocks than personal fouls (with a minimum 150 games) and is the only player among the quintet to have more steals than turnovers. His signature is steady – often with a sweeping “W” – and powerful like the signer himself. Pistons fans will always hold a special place in their hearts for the man called “Big Ben.”
C-Webb first made a name for himself as part of the University of Michigan’s famous “Fab Five” starting lineup in the early ’90s. Playing at center, he led the Wolverines to back-to-back NCAA Finals appearances in 1992 and 1993 before being selected by the Golden State Warriors with the first overall pick in the ’93 NBA Draft. A big man with a soft shooting touch, he averaged 20.7 points, 9.8 boards and 4.2 assists per game throughout his 15-year NBA career. The league’s Rookie of the Year in 1994, Webber went on to become a five-time NBA All-Star and led the league in rebounding in 1999 when he averaged 13 boards per outing. Now a colorful TV broadcaster, he seems to have found a second career in the NBA as an in-game commentator. His autograph is a busy, squiggly one that often resembles an EKG readout by virtue of its high-arching letters and distinctive pattern. Webber is not adverse to signing for fans and for those old enough to remember, his autograph appearance at the 1993 National in Chicago on behalf of Classic Games was one for the hobby record books.