Allen Iverson Headlines Three Sixers Eligible for Hall of Fame

Allen Iverson, Maurice Cheeks, and Bobby Jones are eligible candidates for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class of 2016.

Allen Iverson will be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class if 2016 | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

Allen Iverson will be eligible to be inducted into the Hall of Fame in the Class if 2016 | Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The Naismith Hall of Fame released their eligible candidates for the class of 2016, which includes three former 76er greats.

The class, headlined by first-time nominees Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming, and Allen Iverson, also includes 76er greats Bobby Jones and Maurice Cheeks.

Iverson’s decorated 14-year career, which included 10 full seasons and parts of two others in Philadelphia, included 11 All-Star appearances, 8 playoff appearances, the 2001 NBA MVP award, 1997 Rookie of the Year award, and 2 All-Star MVP’s. Iverson was also awarded Player of the Week honors 23 times, Player of the Month 4 times, and Rookie of the Month twice.

Iverson finished his career with averages of 26.7 points, 6.2 assists, and 2.2 steals per game. He averaged 27.6 points, 6.1 assists, and 2.3 steals per game in 722 career games as a member of the Philadelphia 76ers.

Iverson’s 29,879 points scored rank 2nd on the Sixers’ all-time scoring list, and his 4,385 assists place him 3rd among the team’s assist leaders.

Cheeks spent 11 years in Philadelphia, with averages of 12.2 points, 7.3 assists, and 2.3 steals per game. He won a championship as the starting point guard on the 1982-83 NBA championship team.

Cheeks appeared in four All-Star games and was voted to the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team 4 times. His 7,392 assists rank 11th on the NBA’s all-time list.

Forward Bobby Jones was also featured on the 1982-83 championship team, making all 74 of his appearances off the bench, for which he won the NBA’s first Sixth Man of the Year award. Jones also made four All-Star appearances (along with one in the ABA) and made the NBA’s All-Defensive First Team eight times.

The NBA recently changed its rules, and now only requires a player to be out of basketball for four seasons before being eligible to be nominated. Iverson would have normally qualified anyway — he retired from the NBA following the 2009-10 season — but as a result of a 10 game stint in the Turkish League with Besiktas back in the 2010-11 season, he would have originally had to wait until 2016 for a nomination if it weren’t for the rule change.

Both O’Neal and Ming retired after the 2010-11 NBA season, and would have otherwise been ineligible under the old rules as well.

The NBA will hold a press conference to announce the finalists during All-Star weekend, scheduled for Friday, February 12th in Toronto. The Class of 2016, including those selected by the direct elect committees, will be announced on Monday, April 4th during the NCAA Final Four in Houston, Texas.

If Iverson is elected, the induction ceremony would take place September 8-10th, 2016.

Today marks the 124th anniversary of when James Naismith, then a physical education professor at the YMCA Training School (now Springfield College), reportedly invented the game of basketball.

Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine’s new Sixers Post. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.