NBA: Shaq, Yao, Iverson join the elite Hall of Fame club

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Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

It’s the buzz of the NBA, the Basketball Hall of Fame has finally announced its Class of 2016. Former Lakers superstar Shaquille O’Neal, Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson, Houston Rockets’ Yao Ming, former WNBA player Sheryl Swoopes, Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf and Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo are among the 10 members of the Class of 20166 who will be elected in basketball’s Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September this year.

The 2016 Class will be enshrined during a ceremony at the Hall of Fame’s location at Springfield, Massachusetts on September.

“The impact the Class of 2016 has had on the game of basketball is gigantic,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, via the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Towering over seven feet tall and weighing 325 pounds, Shaq was one of the NBA’s most dominant big men. The former Lakers center was a force to defend in the court, he averaged 23.7 points per game, 10.9 rebounds and shot 58.2 percent from the field in his 19 seasons.

Shaq is a four-time champion and 15-time All Star, and was named league MVP once and NBA Finals MVP three times. The New Jersey-born center has won three championships with the LA Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.

Shaq’s individual accolades include the following; 1999-2000 MVP awards, the 1992-93 NBA Rookie of the Year award, 15 All-star game selections, three All-Star Game MVP awards, three NBA Finals MVP awards, 14 All-NBA team selections, three NBA All-Defensive Team selections, and two scoring titles.

Shaq is one of the only three players in the NBA franchise to win NBA MVP, All-Star game MVP and NBA Finals MVP awards in the same year, and that was on 2000. The 7 foot center ranks 7th all-time in points scored, 13th in rebounds, 7th in block shots, and 5th in field goals.

Largely due to his enormous size and ability to slam the basketball in front of his adversaries, Shaq also ranks 3rd all-time in field goal percentage– or a whopping 58.9 percent from the field.

Former Houston Rockets star Yao Ming was the number one pick in the NBA draft in 2002. Ming was an eight-time NBA All-Star and has broke the record for most All-Star votes, which previously held by Chicago Bulls’ Michael Jordan in 2005. During the time of his final season, Yao was the tallest active player in the NBA, at 7 feet and 6 inches. In his eight seasons with the Houston Rockets, Yao ranks seconds in total block shots, and sixth in total points and rebounds.

Philadelphia’s Allen Iverson was an 11-time NBA All-Star who named rookie of the year in 1996-97, and also won the 2001 NBA MVP awards. Despite of his relatively small stature (listed at 6 feet only), Iverson has been one of the most prolific scorers in the NBA history. He averaged around 26.7 points per game, including 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 steals.

Iverson’s regular season career scoring average of 26.7 points per game ranks sixth all-time, while his NBA playoff career scoring average of 29.7 points per game is second only to Chicago’s Michael Jordan. In addition, Iverson also led the NBA league in minutes played per game (41.1 minutes) and steals (2.5).

Other 2016 Hall of Fame inductees include Zelmo Beaty from the Veterans Committee, former NBA referee Darell Garretson, Cumberland Posey, and the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon.

Picture Courtesy: rizha ubal/Wikimedia Commons

Video Courtesy: Complex/Youtube.com

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