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Basketball lovers everywhere watched as new members were inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at the beginning of this month. The inductees were Zelmo Beaty, Darell Garretson, Allen Iverson, Tom Izzo, John Mclendon, Shaquille O’Neal, Cumberland Posey, Jerry Reinsdorf, Sheryl Swoopes, and Yao Ming. Players are chosen based on the impact they have had on the game.
This class is packed with all the major superstars:
Zelmo (Big Z) Beaty was an ABA superstar who last played for the Los Angeles Lakers. He averaged 17.1 PPG and 10.9 RPG in his 12 year NBA/ABA career. In his first season in the pros, Beaty made $15,000, never making more than $30,000 in his career. Now, a player of his skill level would make around 20 million dollars a year.
Darell Garretson was a referee from 1967 to 1994. One of Garretson’s biggest innovations was introducing the three man referee crew. His son Ron said, “He was huge in terms of video and breaking it down. We stayed up after every game back in the day, until 2 – 2:30 in the morning, watch the tape of the game before, because that’s where you noticed or identified areas that you have to improve on.”
Allen Iverson also known as A.I. and the Answer, was an NBA superstar with career averages of 26.7 PPG, 3.7 RPG, and 6.2 APG. He also led his team to the 2001 NBA finals against the Los Angeles Lakers in a losing effort. Iverson was one of Basketball’s best little big men, able to use his small frame to the best of his advantage by being strong with the ball and finishing in traffic.
Tom Izzo is the head coach for the Michigan State Spartans. In his 19 years as head coach he had 7 Final Four appearances and 1 National Championship. His son said during his hall of fame speech, “my dad, who passed away last December, taught me one of the greatest gifts of all: How and why to work, to accomplish special things in life, whether it was to feed and take care of your family or win national championships.”
John Mclendon was the first African American to coach in professional sports. He helped break racial tension that had been debilitating sports for decades. His son said about his father, “he started the fast break, the four-corner offense and the very first zone defense.” John Mclendon passed away in 1999.
Shaquille O’Neal is arguably the most dominating center in NBA history. He is now an NBA analyst, but while playing, he played for six different NBA teams. He won four championships. He averaged 23.7 PPG and 10.9 RPG in his NBA career.
Cumberland Posey was a professional basketball player and team owner. Posey played for Penn State, Duquesne University and played on his Loendi Big Five team. He was famous for his outside shooting. He passed away in 1946.
Jerry Reinsdorf is the owner of the Chicago Bulls. He helped the Bulls win six NBA championships in the 90’s. He bought the Bulls in 1985 and led them to the golden era of the Bulls in the 1990s.
Sheryl Swoopes was the first player to be signed into the WNBA. She is a three time MVP and a four time WNBA champion for the Houston Comets. When fans hear the letters WNBA, she is the name most people think of.
Yao Ming played for the Shanghai Sharks of the Chinese Basketball Association and Houston Rockets of the NBA. He is an eight time all star and made the All NBA team five times. Ming is a startling 7-foot-6. He is one of the tallest players in NBA history.
This 2016 Hall of Fame class is one of the best in history, #basketballislife.