NBA: Shaq, Yao, Iverson to enter Hall of Fame for Class of 2016

From left: Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming are among 10 members of the class of 2016 who will be enshrined in basketball's Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame.
From left: Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming are among 10 members of the class of 2016 who will be enshrined in basketball's Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. PHOTOS: AFP, YAO MING/ FACEBOOK

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Shaquille O'Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming are among 10 members of the class of 2016 who will be enshrined in basketball's Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame in September, it was announced Monday.

The trio of NBA stars will be honored at a ceremony in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 9.

Other inductees include 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, trailblazing African-American coach John McLendon and four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes.

"The impact the Class of 2016 has had on the game of basketball is gigantic," John Doleva, Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame president, said in a statement.

"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."

USA Basketball Chairman Jerry Colangelo said the new crop of inductees were "big in stature, personality and impact."

"These ten inductees have each contributed to the game in their own meaningful way and we are very pleased to honor them in Springfield," Colangelo said.

O'Neal, who won four NBA Championships during spells with the Los Angeles Lakers and Miami Heat in a 19-year career, welcomed his induction on Monday.

"I tried to mix being dominant and entertaining every game," O'Neal was quoted by the Los Angeles Times as saying.

Iverson was an 11-time NBA All-Star during 14 seasons in the league, where he averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game.

Former Houston Rockets star Yao was the number one pick in the NBA draft in 2002 after leading the Shanghai Sharks to the Chinese title the same year.

He was an eight-time NBA All-Star (2003-2009, 2011) and broke the record for most All-Star votes, previously held by Michael Jordan in 2005.