The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony - Western Mass News - WGGB/WSHM

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement ceremony

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -

The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame celebrated the class of 2015 Friday night. There were over forty returning hall of famers in attendance and thousands of people showed up to Symphony Hall for the festivities

It was a star studded night at Symphony hall as the Naismith Memorial Basketball hall of fame class of 2015 inductees made their way down Court Street, strolled down the red carpet and secured their place in history. The new members of the hall, joining the hundreds of other greats who shaped the game of basketball and impacted countless generations of players. Eleven new inductees were honored tonight including former UMASS coach John Calipari

“To the UMass guys. I want to apologize in front of the world. When I got started as a head coach, I was 29 years old, I had no idea what I was doing. I was trying to figure it out on the run and I was a little mean.  Probably not a great combination I know. But I want to tell you, they overcame me. You guys took that program from where it was to the pinnacle, to the number one program in the country.” Said Calipari

Calipari won a national title in 2012 with Kentucky, with six trips to the Final four nine 30-win seasons and a .771 winning percentage at Kentucky, Memphis and at UMass in Amherst where he put the school and its basketball program on the national map. He coached at UMASS from 1988 to 1996 and won five Atlantic ten regular season championships and five tournament championships.

He was honored by his friends, family and former players who say the impact he has on the young men he coaches is unmatchable.

"He’ll go to war with his players and make sure that everybody has the opportunity to be successful in his program" said Anthony Davis  

Demarcus Cousins also played under Coach Calipari at Kentucky.

“It’s a family oriented organization so Calipari really cares about his guys and it's the same way coming from us" said Cousins

Celtics great Jo Jo White was also inducted tonight, as well as former Celtics player and Coach Tommy Heinsohn, he's just one of four people to be inducted as both a player and coach

Hall of Famer Charles Barkley presented long time referee Dick Bavetta.

Other inductees include WNBA's Lisa Leslie, Spencer Haywood and John Isaacs.

Hall of fame enshrinement weekend continues tomorrow morning with an autograph session featuring some of the memories of the class of 2015. That’s from 10-11am in the Hall of Fame gift shop. The weekend concludes with a celebration party tomorrow night at Mohegan Sun in Connecticut.

Copyright (2015) Western Mass News (Meredith Coporation). All rights reserved.

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