Former Miami Heat star Chris Bosh elected to Hall of Fame as part of 2021 class

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Chris Bosh is on his way to the Hall of Fame.

Named as a finalist in March, Bosh has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the 2021 class.

The entire 2021 class was unveiled Sunday morning at the site of the Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, and it includes Bosh, Paul Pierce, Chris Webber and Ben Wallace. Coaches Rick Adelman, Jay Wright and Bill Russell, who is already enshrined as a player; former WNBA players Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson; and international star Toni Kukoc are also part of the group.

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“I was just kind of going about my day, working and making sure my kids are going to class and things like that,” Bosh said to ESPN, describing the scene when he received the call from the Hall of Fame. “It has just been a surreal moment. I’m really still catching up. My feelings are still catching up. But I’m so thankful for the committee. I’m thankful for the NBA and I’m really just thankful for basketball for always being there for me and just being an outlet that I can be great at. It’s just amazing that I’m here among all these wonderful, wonderful people who are celebrating this wonderful game.”

The induction ceremony for the 2021 class is scheduled to take place in Springfield on Sept. 11.

“I think it’s so well-deserving,” said Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra, who coached Bosh during his time in Miami. “He had just a Hall of Fame winning career as a star player in a lot of different roles as the leading guy, face of a franchise. In many ways, redefining a position — the frontcourt position of the four man. And then coming to us and kind of being the glue that brought all of it together. I think that just takes a special kind of talent and player that really is only focused on winning. I love seeing a player get rewarded for that of being the ultimate winner. That should be the focus.”

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The former Heat big man was voted into the Hall of Fame in the second year that he was eligible for consideration after his playing career came to an end in 2016. Bosh did not hide his frustration last year when he missed out on becoming a first-ball Hall of Famer, as he was not chosen as a finalist for the 2020 enshrinement class that included Kobe Bryant, Tim Duncan and Kevin Garnett.

While blood clot issues ended Bosh’s NBA career early after 13 seasons, he still accomplished a lot. He put up career averages of 19.2 points on 49.4 percent shooting, 8.5 rebounds, two assists and one block in 893 regular-season games (881 starts), and he was an 11-time All-Star.

Bosh is one of 13 players in NBA history to average at least 19.2 points and 8.5 rebounds in a career that included at least 11 All-Star selections.

The other 12 are Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Charles Barkley, Elgin Baylor, Larry Bird, Wilt Chamberlain, Patrick Ewing, Elvin Hayes, Karl Malone, Moses Malone, Shaquille O’Neal, Hakeem Olajuwon and Bob Pettit. All 12 of those players are in the Hall of Fame and now Bosh becomes the 13th.

“His career, as we know, ended before he thought it would,” Spoelstra said. “Otherwise he could have kept on going for another six, eight years. But his body of work spoke for itself and I think he always was able to do it with a great deal of class and professionalism, a real quiet confidence about him that uplifted everybody in the building.”

In six seasons with the Heat from 2010-16, Bosh won two NBA championships, appeared in four NBA Finals and was voted into six All-Star Games. He averaged 18 points, 7.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and 0.9 blocks in 384 regular-season games with Miami, spending four of those seasons playing alongside LeBron James and Dwyane Wade as part of the Big 3.

Among the Heat’s all-time leaders, Bosh ranks fifth in points (6,914) and free throws made (1,469), sixth in scoring average (18.0), defensive rebounds (2,258) and field goals made (2,595), seventh in total rebounds (2,816) and blocks (332), and 10th in minutes played (13,121).

“Chris Bosh has been one of the all-time greats during his career and has earned his place in the Hall of Fame,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “He is highly decorated and so deserving. We are proud that he is part of the Heat family and we congratulate him.”

Bosh and the Heat had a falling out in 2016 when he believed he was ready to resume his playing career after battling blood clots, but the Heat believed it wasn’t safe for him to do so. The Heat eventually waived Bosh in July 2017 to clear his contract from its salary cap once his blood clot issues were ruled a career-ending illness by an NBA doctor.

But the Heat and Bosh later reconciled, as Bosh came to accept the fact that he played his final NBA game and stopped working toward an NBA comeback.

Bosh spent a lot of time around the Heat in recent seasons before the COVID-19 pandemic began limiting interactions, sitting courtside at various home games and spending time with players, coaches and team executives. He has even been at practices helping to drill players.

Bosh had his jersey retired by the Heat during the 2018-19 season. Bosh, Wade, O’Neal, Alonzo Mourning, and Tim Hardaway are the five Heat players who have had their jerseys retired by the organization.

“His stories of sacrifice and what it means to be a leader and impact winning, those stories are going to be told in my locker rooms forever,” Spoelstra said of Bosh.

Like Bosh, Hardaway was also among the finalists for the Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2021 class. But Hardaway was not selected as a member of the group and his Hall of Fame wait continues.

Already enshrined in the Hall of Fame for careers that included time with the Heat are Ray Allen, Mourning, O’Neal, Gary Payton, and Pat Riley. Former Heat assistant coach Bob McAdoo is also in the Hall.

Bosh will now join that list.

Wade is on track to be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2023.