Inductees of the 2016 Hall of Fame, or their representatives, and Jerry Colangelo pose for a group photo during a press conference at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Sept. 8, 2016. Chinese basketball star Yao Ming and his Class of 2016 Hall of Fame made their debut Thursday with orange inductee jackets for the upcoming Enshrinement Ceremony here. The enshrinement ceremony will be held on Sept. 9, 2016. (Xinhua/Wang Ying)
SPRINGFIELD, Massachusetts, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese basketball star Yao Ming and his Class of 2016 Hall of Famers were enshrined Thursday with inductee jackets for the upcoming Enshrinement Ceremony here.
The Class of 2016 will be one of the most memorable to date in the Basketball Hall of Fame history with the orange jackets and they will be honored with unique Hall of Fame rings for the first time on Friday's gala.
This year's class includes 27-year NBA referee Darell Garretson, 11-time NBA All-Star Allen Iverson, two-time NABC Coach of the Year Tom Izzo, the first African-American coach in a professional league John McLendon, three-time NBA Finals MVP Shaquille O'Neal and four-time WNBA champion Sheryl Swoopes.
Distinguished committee also selected global ambassador of the game Yao Ming, Chicago Bulls owner Jerry Reinsdorf, early African American pioneer Cumberland Posey and ABA superstar Zelmo Beaty.
Jerry Colangelo, USA Basketball Director, was presented with the first-ever orange Hall of Fame jacket, which was designed by Haggar, at the press conference.
"I've gone through the whole process of choosing the color. I thought of golf. I think we have specific color for sport. Orange fits perfectly for basketball," Colangelo said.
Yao, the 7-foot-6-inch center of the Houston Rockets, was the last to receive the jacket.
"When I walked into the hall, I felt so small," Yao said. "Look at the pictures above us. I wonder how many stories behind these pictures. Now I'm one of them. I just want to thank everyone."
The 2016 Enshrinement Ceremony will be held at the Symphony Hall in Springfield on Friday night.