PHOENIX SUNS

Phoenix Suns legend Cotton Fitzsimmons elected to Hall of Fame

May 16, 2021, 5:51 PM | Updated: 9:37 pm
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1990: Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons of the Phoenix Suns talks with his player ...
LANDOVER, MD - CIRCA 1990: Head coach Cotton Fitzsimmons of the Phoenix Suns talks with his player Kevin Johnson #7 during an NBA basketball game against the Washington Bullets circa 1990 at the Capital Centre in Landover, Maryland. Fitzsimmons coached the Suns from 1970-72, 1988-92 and 1996. (Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)
(Photo by Focus on Sport/Getty Images)

The Cotton Express is on its way to its final destination: The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

The Hall announced on Sunday that Phoenix Suns coaching legend Cotton Fitzsimmons was elected to be posthumously enshrined in Springfield, Mass. as part of the 2021 class.

Fitzsimmons was elected to the Hall of Fame as a contributor after coaching 21 total seasons in the NBA. His 832 career wins between five teams ranked sixth-most in league history as of his final game, and he currently ranks 16th.

Fitzsimmons had three different tenures as the head coach of the Suns, during which the team went 341-208 (.621).

The Suns Ring of Honor member became part of the organization in its third season as a franchise. Over the team’s first two years, Phoenix won 16 and 39 games. Fitzsimmons propelled them to a 48-win season his first year with the team and to 49 wins in the second.

He reunited with the team in 1986 to serve as the Suns’ director of player personnel. Fitzsimmons was considered a key part in putting together the trade that netted Phoenix Kevin Johnson, Mark West, Tyrone Corbin and the draft pick that became Dan Majerle, which helped set up their future.

Following the 1987-88 season in which the team won 25 games and was engulfed in a drug scandal, Fitzsimmons retook the coaching position.

Phoenix immediately went 55-27 and made the Western Conference Finals, and Fitzsimmons was named Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.

He helped pull the Suns out of the ’80s by leading them to four straight playoff appearances that included two runs to the conference finals.

Fitzsimmons left the coaching role following the 1992 season to serve as the senior executive vice president. In 1996, after the Suns started 14-19, Fitzsimmons returned to the bench and led them on a 27-22 finish to secure their eighth playoff appearance in a row.

He is part of a 16-member Hall of Fame class. Chris Bosh, Paul Pierce, Ben Wallace and Chris Webber will be inducted as NBA players. Yolanda Griffith and Lauren Jackson will be inducted as WNBA players.

Rick Adelman will be inducted as an NBA coach, as will Bill Russell, who is the fifth person to be elected to the Hall of Fame as both a player and a coach. Jay Wright was elcted for his coaching at Villanova.

Fitzsimmons, Val Ackermann and Howard Garfinkel were elected as contributors to the game.

Clarence “Fats” Jenkins was elected by the Early African American Pioneers Committee, Toni Kukoc was selected by the International Committee, Bob Dandridge by the Veterans Committee and Pearl Moore by the Women’s Veterans Committee.

The 16 will be enshrined during a ceremony on Sept. 11.

Phoenix Suns

Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul, right, is defended by Portland Trail Blazers forward Robert Covingto...
Kellan Olson

Phoenix Suns get pounced on by Blazers in blowout loss

The Suns looked like they were back on the right track after beating the Lakers but they lost that against the Blazers the next night.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Cameron Payne (15) passes as Portland Trail Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic (27) pur...
Arizona Sports

Suns G Cameron Payne out Saturday against Trail Blazers

Phoenix Suns backup point guard Cameron Payne will miss Saturday night's game against the Portland Trailer Blazers.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns center Deandre Ayton, right, scores over Los Angeles Lakers forward Anthony Davis duri...
Associated Press

Lakers’ Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis play down sideline incident

Dwight Howard and Anthony Davis say their confrontation on the Lakers' bench was a momentary disagreement that has already been resolved.
3 days ago
Phoenix Suns guard Chris Paul (3) argues a call during the first half of an NBA basketball game aga...
Kellan Olson

Chris Paul provides ‘jumpstart’ to Suns in bounce-back win over Lakers

Nothing like a little get right game, and that's what the Phoenix Suns got on Friday night in Los Angeles against the Lakers.
4 days ago
Chris Paul #3 of the Phoenix Suns handles the ball during the second half of the NBA game at Footpr...
Arizona Sports

Chris Paul becomes 1st player with 20,000 points, 10,000 assists in NBA history

Another accolade for Phoenix Suns point guard Chris Paul, one of the greatest to ever do it at any position.
4 days ago
Phoenix Suns and Mercury owner Robert Sarver attends Game Two of the 2021 WNBA Finals at Footprint ...
Arizona Sports

Jordan Schultz further details expected report coming on Suns owner Robert Sarver

Sports reporter Jordan Schultz joined Arizona Sports to provide more details on his report of a story coming on Suns owner Robert Sarver.
4 days ago
Phoenix Suns legend Cotton Fitzsimmons elected to Hall of Fame