All-Star weekend is in full swing in Toronto with Friday featuring nominations for the Hall of Fame induction including Rockets Yao Ming who was delighted to be among the list of players, coaches, referees and teams announced as nominees.
Perhaps the best sentiment was expressed via Matt Young of the Houston Chronicle:
“You talk about coincidence; I talk about destiny,” Yao said. “It goes back to the ’94 Finals, Houston against New York. I’m the only guy who supported the Rockets on my team. It’s like destiny.” – Ming
Further Ming is extremely happy it comes with his ties to Houston as per Young:
“I feel very peaceful. I’m glad it all can be connected with Houston.”
Ming is the lone player whose nomination comes via the Direct Elect International Committee and no doubt the growth of the sport in Asia and Ming’s specific involvement with the NBA helping to foster that relationship has much to do with his nomination.
Finalist from Direct Elect International Committee:
Yao Ming – Player: The ex Rocket was mired throughout his career with foot problems which likely held the Chinese native back from achieving the accomplishments his talent could have produced were he to have remained healthy. His career is marked by averages of 19 points, 9.2 rebounds, 1.6 assists and 1.9 blocks and his 28 playoff career stats of 19. points, 9.3 rebounds, 1.o assist and 1.4 blocks.
Finalists selected by North American Committee:
Allen Iverson – Player: Was an All-Star 9 times and during his 14 seasons averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game. Was the Rookie of the Year (1997) and the MVP in 2001 which was the same year he led his Sixers team to the NBA finals vs the eventual winners the Lakers. More than his accomplishments on the court how he changed the culture of the sport may be equally as important.
Kevin Johnson – Player: His stats don’t jump off the page quite the same way as his counterparts especially when they are siting his record for playing 62 minutes in a game. His career spanned 12 seasons with his most notable individual accomplishment as being the first player in NBA history to average at least 20 points, 10 assists, a .500 field goal percentage and two steals per game for an entire season. He won the Most Improved Player in 1989 and played with Charles Barkley during the hey day of the Suns. Post career he became the mayor of Sacramento and perhaps his nomination has more to do with his efforts to help keep the Kings franchise in Sacramento.
Shaquille O’Neal – Player: – A guarantee to be inducted O’Neal is a 4 time Champion, regular season MVP (2000) and 3 time finals MVP who played 19 years in the NBA. His career stats are 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game averages. He also was a 15-time NBA All-Star. O’Neal’s off court activities are varied from the world of entertainment (Actor, Rapper, Disc Jockey) to law enforcement to education. Known as a prankster throughout the league his induction is the most certain of all the nominees. He sat beside Bill Russell in the audience and when he spoke on stage it was obvious this means the world to him.
Charles ‘Lefty’ Driesell – Coach: Driesell holds a unique record in that he is the only coach in NCAA history to win 100 games at 4 different schools. Further he is among a group of four coaches who have brought 4 different school teams schools to the NCAA Tournament.
Robert Hughes – Coach: HLed his teams to 35 district championships and 5 state championships. Hughes coached high school basketball in Texas for 47 years ranking number one for all-time wins with a record of 1,333-247.
Tom Izzo – Coach: Arguably the most recognizable coaching name on the list Izzo coaches Mighican State and has led to seven NCAA Final Four appearances and 18 consecutive trips to the tournament. In 2000, his team won the NCAA National Championship. His teams are often cited for their defensive prowess and it’s from here that players like Draymond Green and Magic Johnson came from. Izzo has a number of individual accomplishments such as 3-time Big 10 Coach of the Year
John McLendon – Coach: First African-American coach to win national tournament, national championship and an AAU national championship. And was first African-American to coach in a professional league (the ABA). He is already enshrined in Hall of Fame in the Contributor category.
Bo Ryan – Coach: Named Big Ten Coach of the Year four times while at University of Wisconsin where he led them to 4 Big Ten championships, 3 Big 10 Tournament Championships and the NCAA Final Four twice. .
Eddie Sutton – Coach: Sutton has suffered a losing season just once in his 37 years of coaching. He is a 4-time National Coach of the Year and 8-time Conference Coach of the Year and was the first coach in NCAA history to lead four different schools to the NCAA Tournament where his teams complied 3 Final Four, 6 Elite Eight and12 Sweet Sixteen appearances.
Darell Garretson – Referee: Was an NBA official for 27 years, officiating 1,798 regular season games, 269 playoff games. He also officiated 5 All-Star games and 41 Finals games. Off the court he was among the key people responsible for the first union for referees. More than any other ref he is considered the man who spearheaded the need for 3 man crews and the focus on defense.
Finalists selected by Women’s Committee:
Leta Andrews – Coach: Is all time most wins as a high school coach (male or female) coaching for more than 50 years
Muffet McGraw – Coach: Notre Dame Coach who led her squad to 22 NCAA tournaments where they reached the Sweet 16 round 13 times, Elite Eight and Final Four 7 times with one National title. In addition she was National College Coach of the Year 3 times and Conference Coach of the Year 5 times.
Sheryl Swoopes –Player: 4 time WNBA Champion, 3 time Olympic Gold Medalist, 6 time WNBA All-Star
Wayland Baptist University – Woman’s Team: – won 10 AAU National Championships
April 4th: Announcement of the class of 2016 prior to the NCAA Men’s Championship game in HOUSTON. To qualify the finalist must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee.
September 8th – 10th: The 2016 Class will be enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.
For more details on the nominees and the event visit NBA.com and see their full article.
With the trade deadline around the corner, make sure you visit Space City Scoop on a daily basis for our trade series. Each day, SCS will feature an article on who the Rockets should trade for or what it would take to part ways with the players currently on the roster. Finally, we’ll assess the Rockets and each team in the Association in terms of what their needs are, if they should be buyers or sellers, and also speculate on who would be the ideal trade target.