Hall of Fame officials will allow Yao Ming to get inducted as a "contributor" to the game.
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Yao to receive HOF nomination in 2012
By Scott Howard-Cooper, NBA.com
Posted Aug 8 2011 8:17PM
Yao Ming appears destined to be an unexpected member of the next Hall of Fame class.
Officials of the Springfield, Mass., basketball museum said representatives from the Chinese Basketball Assn. and media in China signaled plans to nominate Yao in the contributor category and bypass the usual five-year waiting period for retired players.
While there is no such thing as certainty in a balloting so secretive that even the voters are never revealed, let alone the results, Yao as a contributor removes the debate that might have accompanied his nomination as a player after a career decimated by injury. Plus, after announcing his retirement from the Rockets in July, he would not have been eligible for enshrinement until 2017.
This unique approach would put Yao on the ballot that is submitted in late-2011 and faces two rounds of voting before inductees for the Class of 2012 are announced at the Final Four in New Orleans. The actual enshrinement would be later in the summer, likely August, in Springfield.
Yao has not yet been nominated, but John Doleva, the president and CEO of the Hall, reported he has talked with Chinese basketball officials and media who called to get clarification on the process. They replied, Doleva said, that paperwork would come in time for the 2012 ballot.
Unlike the classifications for coach, player or referee that carry specific timelines for nomination, the contributor category is purposely kept all-encompassing. The Hall defines the category as "significant contributions to the game of basketball. What constitutes a 'significant contribution' shall be determined" by executives there along with the two committees that vote on induction.
Yao is the epitome of a contributor, the way he helped popularize the NBA in his native China and moved the league's lucrative business ventures forward in the most-populous nation in the world, all with grace and good humor. That he averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in eight seasons on the court and made eight All-Star teams elevates his standing in the history of the game, proving he could have been a true long-term force if healthy, but the real Yao impact will always be the impact that may never be possible to measure.
When Yao retired, commissioner David Stern called him a "transformational player and a testament to the globalization of our game" and that "his dominant play and endearing demeanor along with his extensive humanitarian efforts have made him an international fan favorite and provided an extraordinary bridge between basketball fans in the United States and China."
As Rockets owner Leslie Alexander said, in part, in his own statement: "Yao Ming was a great basketball player, but he's distinguished himself as an even better person. From the moment he arrived in Houston with unprecedented expectations, he handled himself with poise, dignity, purpose and pride well beyond his years."
I don't know what to think, he did have a good career and has somewhat of a legendary status around his name but HOF is for the best of the best so I really don't know.