Shaq, Iverson head Hall of Fame class

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[September 09, 2016]  The Sports Xchange

Shaquille O'Neal has always packed a big presence, and Friday he'll find himself joining some other giants of his sport.

The 7-foot-1 O'Neal is one of 10 people who will be inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. Former Philadelphia 76ers star Allen Iverson, current Michigan State coach Tom Izzo and women's basketball icon Sheryl Swoopes are among the other inductees.

O'Neal and Iverson are overshadowing the other inductees when it comes to publicity. That certainly isn't a surprise when it comes to O'Neal, who carried a big persona during a 19-year career that included 15 All-Star berths and three NBA Finals MVP awards.

O'Neal ranks seventh on the NBA's all-time scoring list (28,596 points), 14th in rebounding (13,099) and was part of four championship squads -- three with the Los Angeles Lakers and one with the Miami Heat.

Iverson was a nine-time All-Star and four-time scoring champion during a 14-year career. He averaged 26.7 points and scored more than 30 per game in four seasons, including a career-best 33.0 points in 2005-06.

Izzo has guided Michigan State to seven Final Fours and one NCAA title during 21 seasons as the coach. He has a 524-205 record and has led the Spartans to 19 consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.

Swoopes was a six-time WNBA All-Star and three-time league MVP who averaged 15 points over 12 seasons. She also led Texas Tech to the

Also being enshrined are former Houston Rockets center Yao Ming, Zelmo Beaty (bolted NBA to become ABA superstar), Darell Garretson (referee), John McLendon (first African-American coach in a pro league), Cumberland Posey (early African-American pioneer) and Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf (contributor).

--Paul Pierce is undecided on the invitation to return to the Los Angeles Clippers for his 19th NBA season.

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Clippers coach Doc Rivers disclosed during a fundraiser at TD Garden in Boston that Pierce was on the fence about playing in 2016-17.

Pierce spent most of his career in Boston, including winning the NBA championship in 2007, before he was traded to the Brooklyn Nets. He reunited last season with Rivers in his home state, but Pierce did not have a major impact off the bench as expected.

Rivers said there is no question Pierce can still be effective if he wants to play.

Rivers said he also talked to Ray Allen, who was part of the '07 team in Boston but didn't play in the NBA last season. Rivers declined to share whether Allen plans to come out of retirement this season.

--Former Oregon star E.J. Singler signed with the Toronto Raptors. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

The 6-foot-6, 215-pound forward split last season between the Raptors and the Idaho Stampede of the NBA D-League. Acquired by the Raptors on March 4, he went on to average 14.7 points, 7.5 rebounds and 30.9 minutes in 10 games.

Singler went on to play for the Raptors' entry in the NBA Summer League, averaging 6.4 points, 2.0 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 19.3 minutes in five games, shooting 48 percent from the floor and 41.2 percent from three-point range.


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