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Former Rockets coach Jeff Van Gundy, now a television analyst, said Yao deserves Hall of Fame consideration, not just for his statistics, but for his unprecedented impact on the game. Van Gundy coached Yao from 2003-07.
"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 as a player. He'll first be eligible as a player with the class of 2017.
"There are examples of people who have been elected as players, and then elected as coaches," Doleva said. "But there has never been anyone elected as a contributor, and then elected as a player or a coach. That's not to say it can't be done, there are no rules against it. But it would be the first time."
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
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