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The 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame Class is shaping out to be one for the ages. Joining Allen Iverson for nomination in 2016 is Shaquille O’Neal, considered by many the most dominant player in NBA history.
Iverson and O’Neal headlining the Hall of Fame together would make for one of the most entertaining and meaningful classes in a long time. Both players dominated the late 90’s and 2000’s, they transcended the game and are two of the most unique talents of all-time.
With the wait time being reduced between retirement and Hall of Fame, Yao Ming is also eligible to join A.I. and Shaq in the 2016 Hall of Fame class. Via NBA.com:
The big picture is that many candidates with a strong case for first-ballot election — Iverson, O’Neal, Yao, Jason Kidd, Steve Nash — could be enshrined a year earlier. The immediate impact is that O’Neal and Yao, among others, are eligible to be nominated for the Class of 2016 and join Iverson on the previous timeline. Yao and Shaq, plus Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Jason Williams (among others), could not have gone on the ballot for another year under previous Hall rules.
While a trio with that much star power would be a boon for increased marketing efforts by the Hall, the newly adopted schedule would hurt the chances of several carryover candidates who may have hoped the absence of new candidates with strong NBA ties would become the opening they needed. Before, it would have been Iverson as the only player with a strong case creating potential opportunities for Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson and Chris Webber. Now, if Iverson, O’Neal and Yao are all nominated, the odds against Hardaway, Johnson and Webber grow, depending also on which college coaches join the ballot.