Houston, TX – Today, at a press event presented by Haggar Clothing Company, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced the 10 members of the Class of 2016 to be honored September 8-10, 2016 during this year’s Enshrinement festivities in Springfield, Massachusetts. The Class Announcement was made in Houston, the site of the 2016 NCAA Men’s Final Four, and televised live on ESPN SportsCenter.
This year’s class includes 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, eleven-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O’Neal and four-time WNBA Champion Sheryl Swoopes. Distinguished committees focused on preserving all areas from the game also selected four directly elected members. They include Zelmo Beaty from the Veterans Committee, Yao Ming from the International Committee, Cumberland Posey from the Early African American Pioneers Committee and Jerry Reinsdorf from the Contributor Committee.
“The impact the Class of 2016 has had on the game of basketball is gigantic,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “To have several icons of the game be recognized in the same year makes this class one of the most memorable to date. We look forward to honoring each of these inductees during Enshrinement in September.”
To be elected, North American and Women’s Committee finalists must receive 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Direct elect committees are incorporated into the election process to maintain a strong focus on keeping history on the forefront of the voting procedures and to preserve a balance between two eras of basketball.
“The Class of 2016 is big in stature, personality and impact,” said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board. “These ten inductees have each contributed to the game in their own meaningful way and we are very pleased to honor them in Springfield.”
The Class of 2016 will be enshrined at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts on Friday, September 9. Ticket packages to the 2016 Enshrinement Ceremony presented by NIKE and all Enshrinement Events are on sale now and available online at www.hoophall.com by calling the Basketball Hall of Fame at (413) 231-5540. Premium Sponsors of Enshrinement 2016 include Haggar Clothing Company, Zales, Nike, Mohegan Sun and Panini.
THE NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME CLASS OF 2016:
North American Committee:
DARELL GARRETSON [Referee] – Garretson, a native of Long Point, Illionois, served as an NBA official for 27 years, officiating 1,798 regular season games, 269 playoff games, 41 Finals games and five All-Star games. He was instrumental in organizing and heading the first union for referees, the National Association of Basketball Referees. He is widely considered the individual who shaped modern basketball officiating with a three-person crew and a focus on “refereeing the defense”. He served as NBA Chief of Officiating Staff and Director of Officials (1981-98) and is the only person to have served as a staff referee and Chief of Staff simultaneously.
ALLEN IVERSON [Player] – An 11-time NBA All-Star (2000-06, 2008, 2009), Iverson played 14 NBA seasons averaging 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game. A three-time All-NBA First Team selection (1999, 2001, 2005), he led the league in scoring average four times (1999, 2001, 2002, 2005), steals per game three times (2001-03) and minutes per game seven times (1999, 2001-04, 2006-08). Iverson was named NBA Rookie of the Year in 1997 and NBA MVP in 2001. The Hampton, Virginia native attended Georgetown University (1994-1996) where he set the school record for career scoring average and earned consensus First Team All-America honors (1996).
TOM IZZO [Coach] – A native of Iron Mountain, Michigan, Izzo has led Michigan State to seven NCAA Final Four appearances (1999-01, 2005, 2009, 2010, 2015). With 18 consecutive trips to the NCAA tournament, his team won the NCAA National Championship in 2000. Izzo has coached Michigan State to seven Big Ten regular season championships (1998-2001, 2009, 2010, 2012), five Big Ten Tournament championships (1999, 2000, 2012, 2014, 2016), and 13 Sweet Sixteen appearances. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year three times (1998, 2009, 2012), NABC Coach of the Year twice (2001, 2012), Clair Bee Coach of the Year (2005) and Associated Press National Coach of the Year (1998).
JOHN MCLENDON [Coach] – A native of Hiawatha, Kansas, McLendon was the first coach to win three consecutive national championships, leading Tennessee State to NAIA National Championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959. He compiled a collegiate coaching record of 522-165 (.760) and was named NAIA Coach of the Year in 1958. He was the first African-American coach to accomplish many feats including winning a national tournament (1954), winning a national championship (1957) and winning an AAU national championship (1961). He was the first African-American coach to coach in a professional league, the ABL. Already enshrined in the Hall of Fame as a “Contributor,” he will now also be enshrined as a coach.
SHAQUILLE O’NEAL [Player] - A four-time NBA Champion (2000, 2001, 2002, 2006), O’Neal played 19 years in the NBA averaging 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game. A 15-time NBA All-Star (1993-98, 2000-07, 2009), O’Neal led the league in field goal percentage for 10 seasons (1994, 1998-2002, 2004-06, 2009) and ranks seventh on the NBA All-Time scoring list. He was named NBA MVP (2000), NBA Finals MVP three times (2000-02) and NBA Rookie of the Year (1993). At Louisiana State University (1989-92), O’Neal led the country in rebounding (1991) and blocked shots (1992) while earning unanimous First-Team All America honors (1991-92). O’Neal is an Olympic gold medalist (1996) and a member of the NBA 50th Anniversary All-Time Team.
SHERYL SWOOPES [Player] - A six-time WNBA All-Star (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006), Swoopes played 12 WNBA seasons averaging 15 points, 4.9 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game. A five-time All-WNBA First Team selection (1998, 1999, 2000, 2002, 2005), she was also named Defensive Player of the Year three times (2000, 2002, 2003) and WNBA MVP three times (2000, 2002, 2005). As a member of the Houston Comets, Swoopes won four WNBA Championships (1997-2000). While setting an NCCA championship record for points scored with 47, the Brownfield, Texas native won an NCAA Championship with Texas Tech (1993). Swoopes is a three-time Olympic gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) and a member of the WNBA All-Decade Team.
THE NAISMITH MEMORIAL BASKETBALL HALL OF FAME DIRECT ELECT MEMBERS:
Contributor Direct Election Committee:
JERRY REINSDORF [Contributor] – Reinsdorf is a remarkably successful lawyer and businessman who followed his love of sports to purchase the Chicago White Sox and in 1985, the Chicago Bulls. Under his leadership, the Bulls won six world championships and became one of the most iconic teams in the history of sports. Reinsdorf has done extensive charitable work to benefit the Chicago Public Schools and the Chicago Park District and was awarded the Jefferson Award for Public Service for leading the philanthropic outreach of the White Sox and CharitaBulls Charities.
Early African American Pioneers Committee:
CUMBERLAND POSEY [Player] – Posey was an exceptional multisport athlete recognized as the greatest African American basketball player of his time, playing from the early 1900s to mid-1920s. After leading Duquesne University in scoring for three seasons, he created, managed and played for the legendary “Loendi Big Five.” His team was the most dominant of the black fives era winning four straight Colored Basketball World Championships. Upon retirement from basketball, Posey switched his focus to baseball where he excelled for 35 years as a player and businessman. Posey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.
YAO MING [Player] – Yao Ming changed the face of global basketball as a respected player and ambassador of the game. He led his hometown Shanghai Sharks to a CBA Championship in 2002 and was the #1 pick in the NBA Draft the same year. As a member for the Houston Rockets, he earned All-Rookie honors (2003) and was named to the All-NBA Team five times (2004, 2006-2009). As an eight-time NBA All-Star (2003-2009, 2011), he broke the record for most All-Star votes, previously held by Michael Jordan in 2005. As the anchor of the Chinese National Team, Yao was named a three-time FIBA Asian Championship MVP.
ZELMO BEATY [Player] – Zelmo “Big Z” Beaty was a powerful force for Prairie View A&M averaging 25 points and 20 rebounds per game (1958-62). He led them to the 1962 NAIA Championship while earning the Chuck Taylor MVP Award. As a pro, he was a standout for the St. Louis Hawks and the ABA Utah Stars as an undersized center with a strong inside game and fierce rebounding ability. As a two-time NBA All-Star (1966, 1968) and three-time ABA All-Star, he averaged a double-double in scoring and rebounding for his career. Beaty won an ABA Championship in 1971 with the Stars and was awarded the ABA Playoffs Most Valuable Player Award. Beaty was named to the ABA All-Time Team and inducted into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2014.