The basketball Hall of Fame induction of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal and Yao Ming will stand out of one of the most memorable moments in the history of HOF enshrinement. Not just because of the star power and popularity of the three, but the way they moved the fans, their peers and their loves ones with their speeches.
This is probably the strongest class to enter the Hall of Fame since 2009, when Michael Jordan, John Stockton and David Robinson received the honor of joining this elite company. Cumberland Posey, Sheryl Swoopes and Zelmo Beaty were the others among the players to join the Shaq-Iverson-Ming trifecta, while head coaches Tom Izzo and Tom McLendon were also part of the celebration.
But the stars of the evening were the three mentioned in the opening paragraph. Shaq brought his famous sense of humor and showmanship, along with a bit of venom towards those he thought deserved it. Iverson was more about emotion than humor, reviewing the ups and downs of his career & life in the most touching of the evening’s speeches. Ming, the most meaningful figure in the history of Asian basketball, showed his usual wit and charm, while blocking the view of Dikembe Mutombo, perhaps the only man who can do something like that.
Allen Iverson Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
Iverson played in the NBA for 14 seasons. He won the MVP in 2001, made the All-Star game 11 times (2-time MVP), made six different All-NBA teams, and was the league’s scoring champion four times. He averaged 26.7 points and 6.2 assists per game in his career.
Shaquille O’Neal Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
O’Neal played in the NBA from 1992 to 2011, 19 seasons. He won the title four times, the Finals MVP 3 times and the regular season MVP once. He is a 15-time All-Star and 3-time All-Star MVP. He made 14 different All-NBA teams, and led the league in scoring twice. He has career averages of 23.7 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.3 blocks per game.
Yao Ming Hall of Fame Enshrinement Speech
Ming didn’t make the Hall of Fame for his NBA career alone, but for his influence on the game outside the realms of the best league in the world. He played only 7 NBA seasons and five more games in the 2010-2011 season, in an era filled with injuries among his brilliant basketball. He averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds through his NBA career, making 8 All-Star games and five different All-NBA teams.