Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, and Yao Ming were among the 10 members representing the Class of 2016, inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on April 4, joining Michael Jordan, Phil Jackson, and Magic Johnson.
Other members representing the Class of 2016 include: NBA referee Darell Garretson, Michigan head coach Tom Izzo, WNBA champion Sheryl Swoopes, first black professional coach Jon McLendon, players Cumberland Posey and Zelmo Beaty, and Chicago Bulls owner, Jerry Reinsdorf.
“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. “To have several icons of the game be recognized in the same year makes this class one of the most memorable to date. We look forward to honoring each of these inductees during Enshrinement in September.”
In an interview with ESPN, O’Neal has one wish for the Sept. 9 enshrinement.
“If I had one wish today, I’d wish that my father would be here,” said O’Neal whose father passed away two years. O’Neal credits his father for his prowess on the court.”When I started playing ball, first thing he said to me was ‘Son, if you pay attention to me, I can make you as good as Kareem [Abdul-Jabbar], Wilt [Chamberlain], and Bill Russell’.”
O’Neal is a four-time NBA champion who ranks seventh on the all-time scoring list, only two spots below Chamberlain.
Allen Iverson, an 11-time All Star and four-time scoring champion is considered one of the most influential players of his time. His style of play, dress, and image were often imitated.
“The Class of 2016 is big in stature, personality and impact,” said Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “These ten inductees have each contributed to the game in their own meaningful way and we are very pleased to honor them in Springfield.”
The enshrinement will take place in Springfield, Mass., on Sept. 9