The Basketball Hall of Fame induction ceremony is underway. Yao Ming was the first inductee to take the stage, and he warmed up the crowd with a hilarious joke about Allen Iverson and his famous "practice" speech.

"When I heard that I would be the first speaker tonight, I think maybe somebody made a mistake," Yao said. "Don't laugh. Because I think this spot belonged to the great Allen Iverson. You know why?"

After the crowd finished applauding for Yao's A.I. shout-out, the former Rockets center delivered the punchline: "Because I need more practice than him." Everyone, especially Iverson, seemed to love the joke. You can check out video below.

 


 

This, of course, is the moment Yao referred to.

Yao's entire speech was poignant, humorous, and above all—true to character—humble and grateful. Fortunately, he allowed The Players' Tribune to publish it in its entirety. Give it a read.

The ceremony is live-streaming on NBA.com and airing on NBATV.