Much like during their playing careers, there was no stopping Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson when it came to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
The larger-than-life 7-foot-1 big man and the ultra-quick 6-0 point guard lead the 10-member Class of 2016, which was announced Monday.
O’Neal won four NBA championships and an MVP award and is in the league’s top 10 in career scoring. Iverson won four scoring titles and was the league’s MVP in 2001, when his 48-point performance for the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 1 of the NBA Finals handed O’Neal’s Los Angeles Lakers their only loss of the most dominant postseason in NBA history.
Iverson and O’Neal will be enshrined along with Michigan State coach Tom Izzo, former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, former WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
O’Neal is one of four players to win three Finals MVP awards, joining Michael Jordan (6), Tim Duncan (3) and Magic Johnson (3). He was one vote shy in 1999-2000 of becoming the first unanimous MVP in NBA history as Iverson received the only other first-place vote.
Iverson, an 11-time All-Star, is the only player 6-0 or shorter to average at least 20 points per game for his career, finishing at 26.7.
“It’s just a tribute to everybody else behind the scenes who helped me accomplish what I wanted to accomplish,” Iverson said.