The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield officially unveiled its Class of 2020 Saturday and a former Celtic and the current women's head coach at Bentley University in Waltham are among the headliners.
Kevin Garnett, who played six season in Boston, is a 15-time All-Star who helped lead the Celtics to two NBA Finals appearances, including the team's 2008 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Barbara Stevens has led Bentley's women's basketball team to 22 25-win seasons and a Division II national championship in 2014.
Although he spent most of his career with the Minnesota Timberwolves, Garnett became one of the most beloved Boston athletes in recent memory for the passion and toughness he showed on the court. The team took to Twitter to congratulate KG.
The team is also planning to raise Garnett's Celtics jersey number, #5, to the famed rafters above TD Garden next season.
Garnett will be joining the late Kobe Bryant, who took on Garnett's Celtics head-to-head in the 2008 and 2010 Finals, and former San Antonio Spurs great Tim Duncan, who had a unique rivalry with Garnett during their playing days. Rounding out the list of player inductees is 10-time WNBA All-Star and four-time Olympic gold medalist Tamika Catchings.
Stevens, who has coached at Bentley since 1986, was inducted into the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 2006 and the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2002. She is one of only six coaches in the history of NCAA women's basketball to reach 1000 career wins. Stevens, who coached at UMass and Clark before going to Bentley, has a career record of 1058-291.
She is the fourth winningest women's basketball coach in the history of the NCAA.
In an interview with WGBH News, Stevens described being a finalist for the Hall of Fame as an "excruciating situation."
"There's a certain period of time where you're announced as a finalist until the actual time where you find out if you're an inductee," she said.
She got a call at 3:20 — she remembers the exact time — the day before the official announcement that informed her of her induction.
"When I heard the words 'Congratulations,' I lost it. I immediately lost it," she said. "It was an extremely emotional time."
Being inducted into the Hall of Fame wasn't something that Stevens had ever planned on. She said just having the opportunity to coach all the young women she's worked with throughout her career has been enough.
"I mean, that would have been plenty," she said. "But the fact that I'm being recognized for my accomplishments is, honestly, it's humbling, it's overwhelming and, you know, I really have no words."
The news comes at a strange time for Stevens, who is having to deal with changes caused by the coronavirus like everyone else. The inductees were supposed to be named at the Division I men's Final Four, which was canceled because of the coronavirus. Instead, Stevens watched the announcement on ESPN while her family joined her via a Zoom video chat.
Although there have been a slew of canceled sporting events this year, the Class of 2020 is set to be enshrined in Springfield on Aug. 29.
Stevens said that if the ceremony happens as scheduled, it will be a celebration.
"What a celebration for not only those in the basketball world, but just people being able to get out and celebrate something that's special to them and actually have something good to celebrate," she said. "So, you know, again, fingers crossed, but we'll see what happens."