The list of nominees for induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame in 2016 got a lot deeper on Monday, as the hall of fame committee announced that Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson and Yao Ming are all eligible for the first time.
O’Neal, Iverson and Ming became eligible a year earlier then would have been possible in years past, as the wait time after retirement was reduced from five years to four years after the 2015 class was inducted.
Three of the most iconic players throughout the 1990s and 2000s, O’Neal, Iverson and Ming combined to earned 34 trips to All-Star Games and 26 All-NBA Team nods.
O’Neal and Iverson were named NBA Most Valuable Player in 2000 and 2001, respectively.
The inclusion of those three names on the list makes it more unlikely that holdovers like Kevin Johnson and Chris Webber will find their way into the hall next year.
Women’s Basketball Hall of Famer Pearl Moore was the only new nominee for the women’s category.
Along with players, Michigan State head coach Tom Izzo and longtime announcer Marv Albert highlight the names in the coaches and contributors categories.
The 2015 class, which was inducted in April, included Dikembe Mutombo, Lisa Leslie, John Calipari and Dick Bavetta.