Can Yao Ming become China’s first inductee to the NBA Hall of Fame?

Chinese superstar could join Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iversen as inductees for basketball’s most respected awards later this year

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 13 February, 2016, 10:49pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 14 February, 2016, 9:20am

Chinese superstar Yao Ming could be about to accompany Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson in being inducted into basketball’s Hall of Fame.

O’Neal can reflect back to a time when he was just nine years old when his stepfather

began teaching him basketball with a plan to dominate like Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell and

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

He told me this day would happen and I never believed him
Shaquille O’Neal

Young Shaquille didn’t even know who they were. Now he’s on the verge of joining them in the slam dunk of immortality.

“He told me this day would happen and I never believed him,” O’Neal said of Phillip Harrison, who raised Shaq along with his mother and died in 2013.

O’Neal is a finalist for induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, joining Allen Iverson to highlight the potential class.

Yao Ming could accompany them in Springfield, Massachusetts in September, though he was nominated by the Hall’s International Committee and was not subject to the step O’Neal and Iverson had to clear on Friday.

Former Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson, college coaches Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, Lefty Driesell, Eddie Sutton and Muffet McGraw; women’s superstar Sheryl Swoopes, long-time referee Darrel Garretson, high school coaches Leta Andrews and Robert Hughes and 10-time AAU

national champion Wayland Baptist University are on the list.

The list includes John McClendon, the first African-American coach in a professional league.

The entire class will be

unveiled on April 4 in Houston

before the NCAA championship game and enshrinement ceremonies are set for September 9 in what could be an overcrowded birthplace of basketball if O’Neal, Yao, Iverson and their fans are all there.

“We’re going to go on tour,” joked Jerry Colangelo, chairman of the Hall of Fame board.

“It could be a big one.”