The 2016 Basketball Hall of Fame class reached the finalist stage Friday.
Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, Yao Ming (through the international committee), Kevin Johnson and Sheryl Swoopes are the five finalists in the player category. Johnson’s inclusion is a real mystery. He was a solid player, most notably for the Phoenix Suns, but he was nowhere near a Hall of Fame-caliber player.
Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, Eddie Sutton, Charles Driesell, John McLendon, Robert Hughes, Leta Andrews and Muffet McGraw are finalists as coaches. Wayland Baptist University is a finalist in the team category. Darrell Garretson is a finalist among referees.
Shaq and Iverson will no doubt go into the Hall of Fame this year. Both of them are locks after dominating at the center and point guard positions, respectively, during the 1990s and 2000s. O’Neal is one of the top 15 players of all time, a four-time champion and a three-time NBA Finals MVP. Iverson led the league in scoring four times and averaged 26.7 points over 14 seasons.
Izzo will get in eventually. He’s won an NCAA national title at Michigan State and has made the Spartans one of the most consistent programs of all-time.
Garrettson might be the best referee in history. Go on YouTube and you’ll see him officiating most of the big playoff games from the 1980s.
Thumbnail photo via Brett Davis/USA TODAY Sports Images
Thumbnail photo via May 20, 2015; Atlanta, GA, USA; Former NBA player and current TNT television personality Shaquille O'Neal prior to game one of the Eastern Conference Finals of the NBA Playoffs between the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers at Philips Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports