SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB)—The red carpet and velvet rope were out today in Springfield for the annual Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremonies.
“There is no more important time of the year for the league,” said NBA Deputy Commissioner Adam Silver. “Obviously, it’s the basketball hall of fame, not just the NBA hall of fame, but to be here with some of the greats: My former colleague Russ Granik, Gary Payton of course, RIck Pitino and others. It is always a thrill to be here just to see the guys. It sends a chill down my side.”
Fans gathered outside Symphony Hall in Springfield hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite players. Headliners of this year’s class included players Gary Payton and Bernard King, but the coaches were the big draw this year. Rick Pitino lead the way, along with Jerry Tarkanian and Guy V. Lewis , who all saw massive support from many of their former players.
“It is the day that everyone has been waiting for,” said Hakeem Olajuwon about his former coach Guy V. Lewis. “It has been a long time and I’m glad that it finally happened.
“There’s not a better coach in the world or mentor than Guy V. Lewis,” said Clyde Drexler. “To see him take his place amongst the giants is a great day for anyone who knew him.”
“Coach Tarkanian is a hall of fame coach but he is also a hall of fame guy,” said Chris Herren, a former player of Tarkanian’s at the University of Nevada at Las Vegas.
“He was a super innovator,” said Larry Johnson of his former coach.”He taught us how to be men and not just basketball players. He taught us how to conduct ourselves off the floor. We don’t always do the right things, but coach was a great guy and this is awesome to have this done.”
While this is an annual event for Springfield, this weekend’s celebrations will leave a lasting memory with the class of 2013.