By: Donnie Menke ~Staff Writer~
The Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony took place over the weekend, enshrining 10 new members, including headliners Yao Ming, Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson. Also inducted were Tom Izzo, Sheryl Swoopes, Zelmo Beaty, Darrell Garretson, John McLendon, Cumberland Posey and Jerry Reinsdorf.
Each of the headliners had a unique impact on the game. Ming, while not the first Chinese NBA player, is easily the most wellknown. His 7’6” stature made him impossible to miss, and even though he missed a significant amount of time due to injuries, he made it possible for the NBA to spread around the globe as easily as it did. Ming is one of the most memorable players ever because of his quiet nature despite his enormous size, which helped endear him to fans all across the world.
Iverson, though lacking Ming’s international footprint, may have had just as big of an impact domestically. Known for his handles on the court and his issues off of it, Iverson is one of the more polarizing players in recent history.
Despite episodes such as the infamous practice rant, spending outrageous amounts of money on strippers and problems with coming off the bench, Iverson is, pound-for-pound, one of the greatest ever. Although he barely reaches six feet tall he is a legend known for his crossover, crazy athleticism and infamous step over of current Cavaliers head coach Tyronn Lue. He has gone down in history as one of the best and will not be forgotten anytime soon.
As big of an impact Iverson had here in the States, O’Neal had a larger one. O’Neal is more well-known than both Iverson and Ming by people who do not follow basketball. Known for his larger than life personality, O’Neal is more than just a basketball player. He is an entertainer, as evidenced by his record deal and appearances in Hollywood films. O’Neal was also well known for his numerous nicknames, adding new ones each time he joined a new team.
Possibly the most unique blend of size, skill and athleticism, O’Neal was unstoppable for most of his career. Even as a rookie, he helped improve the Orlando Magic’s record by nearly 20 wins. There is almost no chance of there being another player like him.
This class had some of the most unique players to ever grace the hardwood, and it will go down as one of the most notable in the history of the game and the Hall.