Iverson, Shaq and Yao lead group elected into Hall of Fame


Iverson, Shaq and Yao lead group elected into Hall of Fame

HOUSTON - Despite being elected to the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday, Allen Iverson knows he still won't be able to shake his infamous rant about practice.

"I'm in the Hall of Fame and I can go outside today and go to a restaurant or whatever and somebody will say to me: `Practice? We talking about practice,'" he said with a laugh, adding that even his children mock him for the 2002 news conference in which he repeated the phrase about 20 times. "Man, I am a Hall of Famer and that's all you can think about - me saying practice."

Along with Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes, Tom Izzo and Jerry Reinsdorf were elected to the Hall of Fame on Monday.

Posthumous honorees this year include 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson; John McLendon, the first African-American coach in a professional league; Cumberland Posey, who also is in the Baseball Hall of Fame; and Zelmo Beaty, who led Prairie View to an NAIA title in 1962.

The selections were announced in Houston in advance of Monday night's NCAA Tournament championship game between North Carolina and Villanova.

Iverson, selected by the Philadelphia 76ers with the first overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft, was named rookie of the year and went on to become an 11-time All-Star. John Thompson, his coach at Georgetown, was there to celebrate the latest honor with his former player.

"I'm proud of the fact of knowing him as a person and knowing the challenges he's had to overcome," Thompson said. "Allen is legitimate. There's a lot of impersonators of what he is. But he is a kid who came from basically nothing and had to be thrust into a whole different way of life and been successful as he has been in his profession."

Iverson was asked to reminisce on the impressive dunking he did in his career despite being only 6-feet tall.

"I can't even touch the backboard now," the 40-year-old lamented. "I ain't lying. Like I can't even touch the backboard. It is over."

O'Neal, the top overall pick in the 1992 draft by the Orlando Magic, was the NBA MVP in 2000, a three-time NBA Finals MVP and 15-time All-Star. When he was introduced Monday at the media event, the jokester scolded the announcer for not mentioning his work in the 1996 movie "Kazaam," in which he played a genie.

The man who has a plethora of nicknames was asked if he hopes to get a new one when he's inducted into the hall in September.

"No, just Hall of Famer," he said.

O'Neal had a simple mindset when he entered the NBA, one that he got from his love of karate movies.

"In all your karate movies, you've got the young karate warrior and he goes all these places and he sees all these masters and he has to take them out," O'Neal said. "So I was gunning for everybody. I was gunning for all the superstars, I was gunning for all the big guys, because I wanted their spot and that was my motivation."

Yao, the top overall pick in 2002 by the Houston Rockets, was an eight-time All-Star. He did not attend the event because he was in Shanghai.

Swoopes helped Texas Tech to a national title, won four WNBA titles with the Houston Comets, was a three-time WNBA MVP and won three Olympic gold medals.

She grew up in the small West Texas town of Brownfield and hopes that her election can be an inspiration to children from small towns everywhere.

"For me to be sitting here today as a Hall of Famer I hope that all those kids out there that have ever doubted that things like this can happen to you, I'm a living example and living proof that if you trust in God and you work hard and believe in yourself and you surround yourself with the right people, anything can happen," she said.

Izzo, Michigan's State coach, won a national title in 2000 and has taken the Spartans to the Final Four seven times.

"This is the biggest thrill of my life," Izzo said. "I needed a lot of other guys to help me get here."

Reinsdorf has been the owner of the Chicago Bulls and White Sox for more than two decades.

"An award like this has to be the most important accomplishment you can have," he said. "The fact is I'm here because of what a lot of other people did."

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

NBC Sports Illustration

NBCSB Breakfast pod: How Jayson Tatum compares to Paul Pierce

1:25 - With half of the Celtics roster on the shelf, we’ve been able to see just how great a scorer Jayson Tatum can be. A. Sherrod Blakely, Mike Girardi and Trenni Kusnierek discuss how Tatum compares to Celtics legend, Paul Pierce.

5:35 - The NFL Competition Committee is giving it their best shot at modifying the ‘catch rule’ and Tom Curran, Kyle Draper and Hardy try to wrap their heads around the proposed changes.

11:02 - The Bruins clinched a playoff berth despite losing to the St. Louis Blues in overtime. Joe Haggerty joins Tom Giles to break down the game, which included another goal by Ryan Donato and a questionable call on a high hit on David Krejci.

Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday


Report: Kyrie Irving to undergo knee exam Thursday

The second opinion on Kyrie Irving’s sore left knee will be done on Thursday, according to the Boston Herald's Steve Bulpett.

Irving, who has missed the last four games, is expected to decide between having a surgical procedure performed to help alleviate some of the soreness, or continue to manage it with rest.


During the 2015 NBA Finals, Irving suffered a fractured left kneecap injury which was the beginning of Irving’s left knee issues.

While Irving has had soreness of some form during various stretches of play this season, Celtics coach Brad Stevens has seen him making progress recently.

“That knee is still sore,” Stevens said. “He’s worked really hard to manage it throughout the entire season. He’s had some pretty good days recently. I’m encouraged by the big picture.”

But Stevens has made it clear that he supports Irving getting a second opinion, adding that Irving’s absence is due to the knee being too sore for him to play at a level he’s accustomed to.

“He’s out because of knee soreness, not because we’re choosing to rest him,” Stevens said. “That’s the bottom line. Again, we want him to feel 110 percent. He wants to feel 110 percent. Obviously, we’re fortunate we created a cushion early on in the year with playoffs and everything else. This is not one of those situations where we’re choosing to rest someone; it’s because he has a sore knee.”