Former NBA All-Star and Chinese basketball great Yao Ming will be inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in the 2016 class, according to ESPN.
The 7-6 Ming was an eight-time NBA All-Star.
The towering center averaged 19 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in eight NBA seasons with the Houston Rockets.
Ming, who began his career in China with Shanghai of the Chinese Basketball Association, was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
He was the first Chinese star in the NBA and is credited with making significant inroads in bringing the league to China.
Last year Ming was selected as a member of the esteemed Laureus World Sports Academy.
The prestigious organization is comprised of the world’s greatest living sportsmen and sportswomen who have changed the world through the power of sport.
Ming is getting into the Hall a year early due to a new rule that has reduced the waiting period for retired players to be admitted from five years to four.
Under the old rule players had to be retired for five complete seasons before they were eligible to be selected to the Hall. But because of the enshrinement process calendar, it meant that players actually had to be away from the game for six seasons before getting in.
NBA greats Shaquille O’Neal and Allen Iverson are also eligible for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s 2016 class.