Shaq, Yao Ming and Allen Iverson highlight Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 nominees

China’s Yao Ming (7’6”) standing alongside Shaquille O’Neal (7’1”).
Yash Matange

The Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame’s decision to make potential honourees eligible for induction just four years after retirement instead of the previous rule of five years, has added three huge NBA names to the possible inductees for the Class of 2016. Celebrating the 124th birthday of the sport of basketball on December the 21st, the Hall revealed the complete list of eligible candidates for next year. For the full list of candidates read here.

This rule change was made by the Hall as the enrichment calendar forced the players to be retired for six full seasons before their possible induction, instead of the rule that requires the players to be retired for five full seasons. 

"We wanted to get more in line with some of the other Halls, and it just seemed like too long of a wait for some of the individuals," Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo said on SportsCenter.

Shaquille O’Neal, a 4 time NBA Champion and 3 time NBA Finals MVP, retired in 2011 after playing for six teams in his NBA career: Orlando Magic, Los Angeles Lakers, Miami Heat, Phoenix Suns, Cleveland Cavaliers and the Boston Celtics. O’Neal has accumulated 28,596 points (6th all-time) and 13,099 rebounds (14th all-time) over the course of his 19-year career. Shaq was also named the 1999-00 league MVP, has 10 All-NBA selections to his name along with 3 NBA All-Star Game MVP Awards. 

Yao Ming, the first pick of the 2002 NBA Draft by the Houston Rockets, retired in 2011 citing multiple foot and ankle injuries. He was and still is the only international player to be drafted first overall in the NBA Draft, without playing in any college in the United States. Post his retirement,  Commissioner David Stern called him a bridge between the Chinese and American fans. He was named to 8 NBA All-Star teams and his success is a huge reason behind the catalystic growth of basketball in China.

Allen Iverson, NBA league MVP in 2001, also retired in the off-season of 2011. His impact on the game was more off the court then on it, not by any means is that a knock on his talent. It is to Iverson’s credit that the league today has a dress code for players when they are representing the league. An 11 time NBA All-Star, Iverson has also bagged two All-Star Game MVP’s and a Rookie of the Year Award.

The new rule has resulted in the nominations list increasing in size. Add to that the marketable value of the likes of Yao, Shaq and Iverson to get votes as first-time inductees, this new rule hurts the chances of induction of carryover candidates such as Chris Webber, Kevin Johnson and Tim Hardaway. 

Changing the time duration for players to be eligible for Hall of Fame Induction wasn’t the only change the Hall made. The ABA Committee was shut down by the Hall as the chairman Colangelo felt the Committee served it’s purpose and wasn’t required anymore. The other change introduced by the Hall was to allow the Women’s committee to put forward four finalists instead of two. 

The Finalists from the North American and Women’s Committee is scheduled to be announced via a press conference on February 12th during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto. The final list of inductees or better known as the Hall of Fame Class of 2016 will be announced during the NCAA's Men's Final Four in Houston, Texas on April 4th. The Induction Ceremony of the potential inductees and related events is to take place from September 8th to 10th at the Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball.

Edited by Staff Editor
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