Good morning. It's been a few days! Let's basketball.
WELCOME TO THE HALL OF FAME: A handful of legends will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame on Friday. This includes Shaq, Yao Ming, Allen Iverson, Sheryl Swoopes, Zelmo Beaty, Tom Izzo and more. (And also Jerry Reinsdorf. Which ... huh?) NBA TV will cover the enshrinement beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.
ALL HAIL DA: Shout out to the GREAT David Aldridge, who was awarded the Hall's Curt Gowdy Media Award on Thursday. I've been reading DA on the NBA as long as I can remember, going back to the early days of ESPN.com. And we see him every week on TNT (and previously on ESPN). A great dude, a great reporter and a well-deserved honor.
WELL ALRIGHT: Iverson missed his flight and was late to the Hall of Fame press conference on Thursday. Speaking of which, here's Stephen A. Smith on A.I.'s authenticity. And Michael Lee on Iverson becoming real and mortal at the 2004 Olympics.
ICONS: I wrote about how Iverson, Yao and Swoopes became cultural icons just by virtue of being themselves.
THE BIG HELP: Only Shaq was physically equipped to help Yao put his Hall of Fame jacket on. Here's Jeff Van Gundy on Yao's humility despite his immense fame. And Ben Golliver on Shaq's greatness. And Kevin Ding on Shaq being the player he wanted to be. And Ric Bucher on how Yao bridged cultures. And Jonathan Feigen on Yao's off-court legacy. And Kelly Dwyer on how damn good Yao was. (I will have something on Shaq on Friday as well. Stay tuned!)
FLAWLESS VICTORY: Such a huge win by Sean Miller to successfully land No. 1 recruit DeAndre Ayton at Arizona. He's a potentially transformative player.
SPEAKING OF COLLEGE ... Our college hoops crew has begun their previews of the top 25 teams in the country. Here's Ricky O'Donnell on Texas and Mike Rutherford on Virginia Tech.
SUMMER OF LEBRON: LeBron played Roomba Basketball and took vodka shots with Ellen.
LINEUPS OF DEATH: Jonathan Tjarks has some new lineups of death for you.
A CRITICAL LATE-GAME BLOCK? HMM: Playing a game in the Philippines, Stephen Curry's attempted game-winning three at the buzzer got blocked by young Filipino player Gian Mamuyac.
PODCAST WORLD TOUR: Limited Upside visits the Kings, where Boogie Cousins might be ready to say goodbye.
WHY ARE WE FANS? I ask myself this question every time another Sacramento Kings season approaches.
ACID RAP: How the Lakers can go 82-0.
AND FINALLY: In honor of Yao, one of my favorite pieces of journalism ever: Gene Menez's "Dinner at Yao's," a 2005 fly-on-the-wall transcript of a dinner Yao, Patrick Ewing and Dikembe Mutombo ate at Yao's Houston restaurant. Enjoy.
And enjoy the Hall of Fame ceremony. See you next week.