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Yao Ming (L).
HOUSTON - Former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming was elected to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2016 on Monday for his role to help spread the NBA's popularity to China.
Announcing this at a press event in Houston on Monday, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame said that Yao Ming, who is from China, changed the face of global basketball as a respected player and ambassador of the game.
"He led his hometown Shanghai Sharks to a CBA Championship in 2002 and was the number 1 pick in the NBA Draft the same year. As a member for the Houston Rockets, he earned All-Rookie honors (2003) and was named to the All-NBA Team five times (2004, 2006-2009). As an eight-time NBA All-Star (2003-2009, 2011), he broke the record for most All-Star votes, previously held by Michael Jordan in 2005. As the anchor of the Chinese National Team, Yao was named a three-time FIBA Asian Championship MVP, " the announcement said.
"The Class of 2016 is big in stature, personality and impact. These ten inductees have each contributed to the game in their own meaningful way and we are very pleased to honor them in Springfield," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Board.
The induction ceremony will be held in Springfield, Massachusetts on September 9, 2016.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an American history museum and hall of fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts. It serves as the sport's most complete library, in addition to promoting and preserving the history of basketball. Dedicated to Canadian doctor and inventor of the sport James Naismith, it was opened in, and inducted its first class in 1959. As of September 11, 2015, when the induction ceremony took place, the Basketball Hall of Fame had honored 345 individuals and 10 teams.