Some big names, and big men, were announced as the newest members of the Basketball Hall of Fame on Monday.
Yao Ming, at 7-foot-6 one of the tallest players in N.B.A. history and the player who drove the popularity of the sport in China, was enshrined. So was 7-foot-1 Shaquille O’Neal, the colorful, quotable and dominant center who won four N.B.A. titles, in Los Angeles and Miami.
But for all the notoriety those two have earned over the years, the attention on Monday seemed to fall most heavily on a little guy, Allen Iverson, one of the league’s greatest players listed at 6 feet or under.
Iverson is remembered for almost single-handedly dragging an undermanned 76ers team to the N.B.A. finals in 2001, the season in which he won the Most Valuable Player Award. The Lakers were widely expected to sweep the series, but Iverson scored 48 points and pushed his team to an overtime victory in Game 1. O’Neal, Kobe Bryant & Co. won the next four games for the Lakers, but Iverson came out of the series with the plaudits.
A highlight that is destined to be repeated many more times is when the brash rookie Iverson schooled Michael Jordan with a crossover move in 1997.
Iverson will also forever be remembered for a single word: “practice.” After skipping a Sixers practice in 2002, he attended a news conference at which he played down his transgression in a monologue in which he repeated the word more than 20 times.
His tattoos and cornrows were ahead of the curve, and alienated some old-school fans. Iverson had troubles with the law, and financial problems after retirement. But his following was devoted and celebrated his big day on Monday with gusto.
In an interview on ESPN on Monday, Iverson came up with what might become another memorable quotation: “I wasn’t a point guard. I was a killer.”
Also inducted on Monday were Coach Tom Izzo, who has taken Michigan State to seven Final Fours; the Houston Comets star Sheryl Swoopes; the 1960s and 1970s pro star Zelmo Beaty; and the longtime Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf.
The class of 10 new members was rounded out by the referee Darell Garretson; John McLendon, considered the first African-American to coach in the pros; and Cumberland Posey, a Baseball Hall of Famer, for his Negro leagues exploits, who also played on the Loendi Big Five, an elite all-black basketball team of the 1920s.
The coaches Lefty Driesell and Eddie Sutton were among those nominees passed over this year.