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Yao Ming among finalists for 2016 hall of fame class

Rockets center Yao Ming could be among a ridiculous 2016 hall of fame class that includes Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson.

Jeff Gross/Getty Images

As part of the normal festivities with NBA All-Star Game, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame finalist that year's induction class. 2016 may be a year to remember for the basketball hall of fame because it could include Yao Ming, Shaquille O'Neal, and Allen Iverson.

The Rockets had the ping pong balls fall the right way to get the top pick in the 2002, knowing that the prize was Ming. Ming entered the NBA in the 2002-2003 season, making his mark as he held his own against players like O'Neal in his rookie season.

Ming averaged 19.0 points, .524 field goal percentage,  9.2 rebounds, 1.9 blocks per game in 486 NBA games. His career totals included 9,247 points, 4,494 rebounds, and 920 blocks.  In his eight seasons, the Rockets reached the playoffs four times.

Yao Ming was an icon on and off the court for the Houston Rockets, opening up the NBA to China.

Also among the group is former Houston Comets great Sheryl Swoopes. Swoopes was a member of the 4-peat champion Comets from 1997-2000. Swoopes is a six-time WNBA All-Star, three-time WNBA MVP, two-time WNBA scoring champion, three-time gold medalist (1996, 2000, 2004) and a NCAA champion with Texas Tech (1993).

The other finalists as noted by are:

Former Phoenix Suns point guard Kevin Johnson, college coaches Tom Izzo, Bo Ryan, Lefty Driesell, Eddie Sutton and Muffet McGraw; referee Darrel Garretson, high school coaches Leta Andrews and Robert Hughes, 10-time AAU national champion Wayland Baptist University, and John McClendon, the first African-American coach in a professional league, also were chosen as finalists by the North American or Women's Committees.

The 2016 class will be annouced in Houston as part the NCAA championship game on April 4, and the ceremony will take place on Sept. 9 in Springfield, Massachusetts.