Basketball legends introduced in Springfield ahead of enshrinement

Shaq, Iverson, Swoopes among inductees this year

Shaquille O'Neal smiles after being presented with a Hall of Fame jacket during a news conference at the Basketball Hall of Fame on September 8, 2016.

SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Enshrinement weekend is upon us, and the stars of basketball will be shining in Springfield over the next few days. The Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 includes NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, and Yao Ming, and three-time WNBA MVP Sheryl Swoopes.

The enshrinement events began early Thursday afternoon with an autograph session at the Hall of Fame, the tickets for which have were sold-out. At 2:00 P.M., the inductees were presented with new “Naismith orange” jackets designed by Haggar, before taking turns speaking at a news conference.

22News got a chance to ask Shaq what he thought about being at the Hall of Fame. He replied, “It’s overwhelming, it’s surreal, it’s awesome, because as a kid being told so much you’re not really that good, I never thought I would be here. I’m the type I have to have other people say it for it to be validated.”

Class of ’16 Hall of Famer Yao Ming told 22News, “Well it’s very interesting, the first game against Shaq is in Houston and I know it got a lot of attention. I was curious how good he can be, you never know until you play against him.”

The enshrinement ceremony itself will be held Friday night at Springfield Symphony Hall, with an induction celebration at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut on Saturday night.

Social Media: Enshrinement weekend begins in Springfield

Here is a complete listing of the Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016:

  • Zelmo Beaty, American Basketball Association superstar
  • Darrell Garretson, 27-year NBA referee
  • Allen Iverson, 11-time NBA All-Star
  • Tom Izzo, two-time NABC Coach of the Year
  • John McLendon, the first African-American coach in a professional league
  • Shaquille O’Neal, three-time NBA Finals MVP
  • Cumberland Posey, early African-American basketball pioneer
  • Jerry Reinsdorf, iconic Chicago Bulls owner
  • Sheryl Swoopes, four-time WNBA champion
  • Yao Ming, global ambassador of the game

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