The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has announced its list of eligible candidates to be potentially inducted in 2016, and headlining the list are legendary NBA figures Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson.
All three megastars are being made eligible a year earlier than normal, as the Hall adjusted the wait time from five years to four. This was likely done so as to make it possible for them to help celebrate the significant 125th year since the birth of basketball.
Yao Ming played nine years in the NBA, all with the Houston Rockets. The 7-foot-6 giant of a man endeared himself to American basketball fans with his cheerful attitude, skilled play and competitive nature, and he was voted to eight All-Star games during his career.
O’Neal will go down in history as one of the most dominant big men to ever play the game. He won four NBA championships — three in a row with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat — was three times an NBA Finals MVP, was the NBA MVP once in 2000 and was a 15-time All-Star.
Allen Iverson was one of the most dynamic players of his generation. He spent most of his career with the Philadelphia 76ers, where he earned an MVP award in 2001 and took the Sixers to the NBA Finals. He was an 11-time All-Star and will forever be remembered for his “Practice? we talking about practice?” rant.
For those who are interested in viewing the entire list of eligible candidates for both the men and women’s ballots, click here.
The finalists for the 2016 class will be announced in a press conference during the 2016 All-Star weekend, scheduled for April 12th in Toronto, Canada.
Enshrinement ceremonies will take place next September in Springfield, Mass., which is the birthplace of basketball.