The wait will be a little shorter for those all but assured of a place in basketball immortality.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame formally announced changes to its enshrinement process, the most significant of which will allow players, referees and coaches to be eligible after just three seasons of retirement.
The new arrangement speeds up the process for several likely Hall-of-Fame candidates, with those eligible for the 2018 class set to be announced on Dec. 21.
“By allowing players, coaches and referees to become eligible after three seasons of retirement, the Hall of Fame will be able to celebrate the best in the game at an opportune time with the fans who have supported them throughout their careers on the hardwood," said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
This change would immediately impact high-caliber players who last played in 2013-14, including two-time Kia Most Valuable Player and former Phoenix Suns All-Star Steve Nash. Other All-Stars eligible for the honor included 2004 Finals MVP Chauncey Billups, NBA all-time 3-pointers leader Ray Allen, and six-time All-Star Jermaine O'Neal.
Another reform to the Hall of Fame election process specifically addresses coaches, which will now be required to have coached for 25 years and reach the minimum age of 60.
"The Board has agreed that it’s best to evaluate a more complete body of work when considering coaches for Hall of Fame nomination, thus the implementation of the new minimums - 25 years of coaching and 60 years of age," said Jerry Colangelo, Chairman of the Basketball Hall of Fame.