Guidelines For Nomination and Election Into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Candidates must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for Enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (hereafter BHOF):

Player: A player must be fully retired for four seasons before being eligible for Enshrinement. He/she may then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement. Should a player come out of retirement for a short period of time, as defined by the BHOF, his/her case and eligibility for Enshrinement shall be reviewed on an individual basis.

Coach: A coach must be either fully retired for four seasons or, if still an active coach, have coached as either a fulltime assistant or head coach on the high school and/or college and/or professional level for a minimum of 25 years. That person will then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement or 26th year of active coaching.

Referee: A referee must be fully retired for four seasons or, if still an active referee, have been an active referee for a minimum of 25 years. That person will then be considered for Enshrinement in the fifth year of retirement or 26th year of refereeing.

Contributor: A person is eligible for Enshrinement as a contributor at any time for significant contributions to the game of basketball. What constitutes a "significant contribution" shall be determined by the BHOF, its Screening Committee(s) or Honors Committee(s).

A Nomination Packet consists of a completed nomination form procured from the BHOF, and news clippings, magazine articles or other informative, factual data about the candidate. This material shall be submitted to the President and CEO of the BHOF by November 1 of each year for consideration in the following year’s class. All nominees with completed nomination materials are presented to the appropriate Screening Committee for review.

There are two Screening Committees: 1) North American, and 2) Women’s. These Committees will review and select individuals (“Finalists”) to be reviewed and voted upon for Enshrinement by the Honors Committee. The North American Screening Committee consists of nine members. The Women's Screening Committee is composed of seven members. To advance to the Honors Committee, an individual requires a minimum number of affirmative votes from the applicable Screening Committee (North American: at least 7 of 9; Women’s: at least 5 of 7).

If an individual does not receive a single affirmative vote for three consecutive years (0-27 or 0-21) that person's candidacy is suspended for five years after which time he/she may again start the process of being reviewed by a Screening Committee. There is no limitation on the number of years a person can be considered for Enshrinement by a Screening Committee unless that person does not receive a single vote for three consecutive years.

Screening Committees may put forth a maximum number of finalists to the Honors Committee as follows: North American 10; Women’s 4.


Newly introduced in 2011, there are directly elected Enshrinees from four committees representing the 1) “Contributor Category” from the North American Game, the 2) International Game, the 3) Veteran’s Game (out of the game 35+ years),  and the 4) Early African-American Pioneers of the Game. These “directly elected” categories have a one-step process versus the two-step process for North American and Women’s (Step one: Screening Committee produces Finalist; Step two: Honors Committee elects Enshrinees.)

After the vote of the Screening Committees, those candidates who are recommended to be put forth to the Honors Committee will first be reviewed by the BHOF Board of Trustees. At this time, should it be determined by the Board of Trustees that an individual has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball, he or she shall be deemed not worthy of Enshrinement and removed from consideration.

The purpose of the Honors Committee is to review carefully the selected Finalist candidate's basketball record before casting a vote in favor of or against Enshrining the person into the BHOF. There are 24 people on each Honors Committee. They include Hall of Famers, basketball executives, media members and other contributors to the game. A person needs a minimum of 18 votes from an Honors Committee to be Enshrined into the BHOF. If the Honors Committee has not elected a Finalist who has gone forth for five consecutive years, the person's candidacy will be suspended for five years and will not be considered during this time. Following this five-year period, the candidate will be eligible to be reactivated and reconsidered by the appropriate Screening Committee.