Yao Ming will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as part of the Class of 2016, league sources have told The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Yao, 35, retired from the NBA in 2011 after spending eight years in the league. He'll reportedly enter the Hall of Fame under the newly created Direct Elect International Committee, which took into account his years playing in China and his role in growing the game in the Far East. The formal announcement is expected to come this weekend during the NCAA's Final Four in Houston.
Yao was taken No. 1 overall by the Rockets in the 2002 NBA Draft. He averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 486 career games, led the Rockets to the playoffs four times, made the All Star team every year of his career and was named All-NBA five times. Unfortunately, chronic lower leg and foot injuries plagued him throughout his career and forced him to retire at the age of 30.
Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tom Izzo are three of the other finalists for the Hall of Fame Class of 2016.