Yao could get call to Hall as a contributorHOUSTON - Yao Ming, the Chinese giant who became the first superstar basketball player from Asia, could enter the Basketball Hall of Fame as early as next year as a contributor to the game.
John Doleva, president and chief executive of the shrine, said Tuesday that Yao has been nominated by a member of the Chinese media and his credentials will be considered by an international panel.
As a contributor, Yao could be elected to the Hall in the 2012 class, while as a player, he would not be eligible for consideration until five years after he retired.
Yao retired in July after an eight-year NBA career that started after the Houston Rockets made him the top overall selection in the 2002 NBA draft and was marked in its closing years by leg and foot injuries that eventually forced him off the court.
An eight-time All-Star, Yao averaged 19 points and 9.2 rebounds in the NBA after a stellar career for the Chinese national team and the Shanghai Sharks.
While Yao was not the first Chinese player in the NBA, his engaging personality made him a favorite for sponsors seeking a way to attract interest in the potentially hugely profitable Chinese market and for NBA fans across Asia.
When he retired, NBA Commissioner David Stern called Yao “a transformational player and a testament to the globalization of our game.”
Doleva said a panel of seven “experts on the international game” will consider Yao’s credentials, and six of the seven must approve his election.
The panel is only allowed to select one individual, and Doleva said Yao will be facing about 12 to 15 other candidates for induction next year.
The deadline for nominations is Nov. 1. Doleva said a member of the Chinese media contacted him to ask about the categories available for individuals, and submitted a formal application on Yao’s behalf.
“It has to go through the process,” Doleva said. “There is no guarantee when someone is nominated that they will be elected in their first year.”
Former Rockets Coach Jeff Van Gundy, who coached Yao in the mid-2000s, hailed the nomination. “He’s been one of the greatest ambassadors to ever set foot on an NBA floor,” Van Gundy said. “This guy touched so many people, and really opened doors in China, not only for himself, but for so many others.”
Doleva said Yao could make more history if he’s inducted as both a contributor and, later, as a player. “There has never been anyone elected as a contributor, and then elected as a player or a coach,” he said. AFP
한글 관련 기사 [연합뉴스]
야오밍, 2012년 명예의 전당 가입 후보에 올라
지난달 현역에서 물러난 중국의 농구 스타 야오밍이 2012년 농구 명예의 전당 가입 후보 명단에 이름을 올렸다.
존 돌리바 농구 명예의 전당 회장은 10일 "야오밍이 중국 언론의 추천을 받아 공로자(contributor) 후보 명단에 포함됐다. 최종 가입 여부는 인터내셔널 패널이 결정하게 될 것"이라고 밝혔다.
명예의 전당 선수 부문에 들려면 은퇴 후 5년이 지나야 한다는 자격 요건이 있기 때문에 야오밍은 2012년 우선 공로자 자격으로 명예의 전당에 가입할 수 있다.
7명으로 구성된 인터내셔널 패널 심사 결과 6명 이상이 승인해야 명예의 전당에 들 수 있다.
돌리바 회장은 "11월1일이 후보 추천 마감인데 아마 12~15명 정도가 경쟁할 것으로 예상한다. 패널은 1명에게만 승인 투표를 할 수 있기 때문에 후보에 오른 첫해 명예의 전당에 가입한다는 보장은 없다"고 설명했다.
돌리바 회장은 또 "지금까지 선수, 코치 부문에서 모두 명예의 전당에 오른 예는 있지만 공로자로 먼저 명예의 전당에 가입하고 이후 선수, 코치로도 명예의 전당에 오른 예는 없다"며 "야오밍이 공로자, 선수로 모두 명예의 전당에 들게 되면 새로운 역사를 만드는 것"이라고 덧붙였다.