Shaq and Iverson among Hall of Fame finalists

Fri Feb 12, 2016 5:49pm EST
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TORONTO (Reuters) - Shaquille O'Neal and Allen Iverson headlined a list of 14 finalists for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame announced on Friday.

Three-time NBA Finals MVP O'Neal, nine-time NBA All-Star Iverson, three-time NBA All-Star Kevin Johnson and four-time WNBA champion Sheryl Swoopes joined eight coaches, a referee and a record-setting team as finalists for election in 2016.

They were nominated from the North American and women's committees.

Absent from the All-Star announcement was China's Yao Ming, whose nomination falls within the Direct Elect International Committee. Enshrinees from the Direct Elect Committees will be recognized at the NCAA Men's Final Four in Houston in April.

The other finalists included college coaches Tom Izzo, Charles "Lefty" Driesell, Bo Ryan, Eddie Sutton, Muffet McGraw, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon and high school coaches Leta Andrews and Robert Hughes.

Referee Darell Garretson served as an NBA official for 27 years, officiating 1,798 regular season games, including 269 playoff games and 41 Finals games.

Wayland Baptist University women's team won 131 consecutive games from 1953-58 and 10 AAU national championships from 1954 to 1975.

The Class of 2016 will be announced on Monday, April 4 in Houston prior to the NCAA Men's championship game.

A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election with induction ceremonies in Springfield, Mass. in September.

(Reporting by Larry Fine in New York; Editing by Mark Lamport-Stokes)

USA's Sheryl Swoopes fouls Spain's Laia Palau (6) during their quarter
final match at the 14th Womens Basketball World Championship in
Nanjing, the capital city of Jiangsu province, China September 23,
2002.   REUTERS/Claro Cortes IV