Voters for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame won't need much practice when it comes to inducting Allen Iverson. For the 2016 class, we're talking first ballot lock.
The first true step toward the former Georgetown great becoming enshrined in the Hall of Fame occurred Friday in Toronto during NBA All-Star weekend. Iverson and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal were among 14 finalists announced along with former University of Maryland coach Charles "Lefty" Driesell.
Other finalists include former Phoenix Suns guard Kevin Johnson; coaches Robert Hughes, Tom Izzo, John McLendon, Bo Ryan, Eddie Sutton, Leta Andrews, Muffet McGraw; referee Darell Garrettson; WNBA legend Sheryl Swoopes and 10-time AAU National Champions Wayland Baptist University.
The official press release included bios for all 14 finalists, which for the players primarily consist of stats and awards. For Iverson, the 2001 NBA Most Valuable Player and a three-time first-team ALl-NBA selection, that includes averaging 26.7 points over his 14 seasons and leading the league in scoring three times. As one of the most influential players on and off the court for his style and approach, mere stats don't do his legend justice. Since the Basketball Hall of Fame also includes college, we'll note Iverson finished with the highest career scoring average at Georgetown.
It would be a true Shaqtin-a-fool scenario if O'Neal didn't join Iverson as a first-ballot inductee. The massive center was a 15-time All-Star, league MVP in 2000, three time NBA Finals MVP nd 1993 Rookie of the Year.
Driesell is the only coach in NCAA history to win 100 games at four different schools and just one of four coaches to lead four schools to the NCAA Tournament. He currently ranks eighth among Division I coaches in all-time victories with an overall coaching record of 786-394 (.666) with his greatest success coming at Maryland during the 1970's and early 80's. Also mentioned in his bio? Driesell received the NCAA Award of Valor in 1974 after saving children from a house fire. He was inducted in the College Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007.
The Class of 2016 will be announced on Monday, April 4 prior to the NCAA Men’s Championship game,with the enshrinement festivities September 8-10 in Springfield, Massachusetts.
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