The announcement will come this weekend in Houston during the Final Four when the 2016 class is unveiled.
The 7-foot-6 Yao played nine seasons in the NBA with the Houston Rockets after starting his career in Shanghai in the Chinese Basketball Association. He was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2002 NBA Draft.
Foot and ankle injuries forced Yao to cut short his career in 2011, but he averaged 19.0 points, 9.2 rebounds and 1.9 blocked shots per game and was named to the NBA All-Star team eight times
Yao is considered responsible for basketball's growth and popularity in his native China. A game featuring Yao and the Rockets against Yi Jianlian and the Milwaukee Bucks in 2007 in China drew 200 million television viewers across the country in one of the most watched games in NBA history.
Yao also played on China's team that won FIBA Asia Championships in 2001, 2003 and 2005.