Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame prepares for enshrinement weekend
SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) -The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame is preparing for Enshrinement Weekend at Symphony Hall in Springfield. This year’s class of inductees who have made an impact both on and off the court, will draw big crowds to the birthplace of basketball on Saturday.
Hall Of Fame President and CEO John Doleva tells Western Mass News this could be the biggest induction weekend since 2009.
“It’s really a class that really represents the entire game of basketball, and we couldn’t be more proud of the fact that that’s what this hall of fame represents. It’s men, women, pro, high school, college,” said Doleva.
Among those being honored are several NBA champions, including Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, San Antonio Spurs guard Tony Parker, and Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat.
Other inductees include former WNBA player Becky Hammon, current Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich and late North Carolina State basketball coach Jim Valvano.
“Valvano, inspired so many people in basketball to continue to give back to the V Foundation and support cancer research. So kind of an easy one to be in this class,” stated Doleva.
There will also be history made this weekend, as former Amherst College men’s basketball coach David Hixon will become the first NCAA Division III coach to ever be enshrined.
The Head coach there for 42 years, the two-time national champion calls it surreal to have his name enshrined in his own backyard.
“I think that’s great for western Mass. My gym is 28 miles from here. I was in the fall of my junior year at Amherst College as a student, we went around the room and there were four of us.’What do you want to be ten years from now?’ I announced I would be the Amherst College head basketball coach,” reminisced Hixon.
He will be presented by his friend and former UMass-Amherst basketball coach John Calipari and looks forward to a very special night.
“I look at some of the names that didn’t get through, and I think wow, am I blessed,” said Hixon.
Basketball Hall of Fame visitors can see this year’s class in a special exhibit on the top floor of the building.
Doleva says the ceremony itself is sold out and expects the entire celebration to be a slam dunk.
“Our goal is to provide just the best level of hospitality to make them feel like the Hall of Fame and Springfield, Massachusetts is their home as well,” said Doleva.
The Hall of Fame enshrinement festivities kick off at 6:30 Saturday night at Symphony Hall as all of the names of the inductees will live on forever.
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