Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrines the Class of 2014
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) — The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is welcoming its class of 2014 as basketball’s best once again descend upon Springfield for this year’s Enshrinement ceremonies.
Fans lined the way up to Symphony Hall hoping to catch a glimpse of their favorite players or get an autograph from one of their idols.
Quite a few familiar faces were on hand including former UMass head coach John Calipari.
“This is home,” said Calipari. “My daughters feel it’s home. My son is coming to prep school back this way. My daughter lives in Boston. New England is where I raised my family and we got started in this profession. And I have great, great, fond memories.”
Springfield has a unique historic connection to the fastest growing game in the world,” explains Paul Lambert, Vice President of Guest Relations at the Hall of Fame. “The global sport of basketball. It’s more popular with people all over the world. Soccer is still number one but basketball is closing in fast and that is unique.”
One of the biggest names in this year’s class, in more ways than one, was Alonzo Mourning. The Miami Heat center played 13 years in the league including winning an NBA title in 2006 after coming back from a kidney transplant.
“To get to where he has as far as success on any level,” said John Thompson III, head coach of Georgetown basketball. “You look to his overall career and the fact he is now an executive with the Miami Heat. Obviously you don’t make it to this point unless you’re special and he is special.”
The most influential man in the class of 2014 never stepped foot on the court , but David Stern left a huge impact on the sport of basketball during his three decades as NBA commissioner.
” I worked for David for 22 years and to see him inducted into the Hall of Fame, on behalf of everyone in the NBA, it is so meaningful to all of us,” said current NBA commissioner Adam Silver. “No one has had as great of an impact on the business of sports as David Stern.”
This is an annual event for Western Mass but something that never seems to lose it’s luster.