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(KG NUGGETS_SUNS -- Nuggets guard Allen Iverson exchanged pleasantries with Phoenix center Shaquille O'Neal before Wednesday's matchup in Denver. The Denver Nuggets hosted the Phoenix Suns Wedensday, March 5, 2008 at the Pepsi Center. The Denver Post/ Kar

In an effort speed up the induction process, Shaq, Yao Ming, and Allen Iverson are already eligible for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

The wait was originally six years and has now been knocked down to four. “We wanted to get more in line with some of the other Halls, and it just seemed like too long of a wait for some of the individuals,” said Hall chairman Jerry Colangelo during an interview with ESPN. And now, this year’s biggest candidates retired after the 2010-11 season. They all have their own unique claim to fame, as bad boy Iverson gave the NBA much-needed swag, Big Diesel Shaq won four rings, and Yao Ming catapulted China’s scouting pool to new heights.

Aside from the NBA’s big names, Tom Izzo, head coach of the Michigan State basketball team, is also being considered. And, as women continue to dominate sports this year, WNBA star Sheryl Swoopes is eligible to be inducted as well. In her storied career, she won three MVPs and four consecutive championships with the Houston Comets.

The Hall of Fame finalists are expected to be named in February, with the induction ceremony taking place in September.

SOURCE: ESPN | PHOTO CREDIT: Getty

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