O’Neal leads La. Sports Hall of Fame inductees

Always entertaining as a player, Shaquille O'Neal is moving on to a career as a TNT analyst.
Always entertaining as a player, Shaquille O'Neal is moving on to a career as a TNT analyst.

NATCHITOCHES — Basketball superstar Shaquille O’Neal, women’s tennis great Chanda Rubin and eight-time NFL Pro Bowl selection Kevin Mawae headline a class of nine inductees who will enter the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame in late June.

Grambling basketball legend James Jones, a Tallulah native who made the all-time team of the American Basketball Association, joins former LSU quarterback Tommy Hodson and nationally-acclaimed jockey Ronald Ardoin, a Carencro native, in the Hall’s 2013 induction class.

Jonesville native Ervin Johnson, whose unlikely 13-year NBA career was launched at a grocery store and took root at the University of New Orleans, is the third pro basketball standout in the class. Two other inductees have amateur basketball ties: the late Ed “Skeets” Tuohy, who had a career 84.5 winning percentage as coach at New Orleans’ Newman High and the late Anna Koll, a remarkable all-around athlete from New Orleans in the 1920s and 1930s.

O’Neal became a national star during his three seasons at LSU. Rubin, a Lafayette native, broke onto the world tennis stage as a teenager in 1992. Mawae played high school football at Leesville and blossomed into a second-round NFL draft while playing at LSU from 1990-93.

The class will be officially enshrined Saturday, June 29 in Natchitoches to culminate the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Induction Celebration from June 27-29.

The class will be the first to be welcomed into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame Museum, operated by the Louisiana State Museum system in a partnership with the Louisiana Sports Writers Association. The building will open this summer.