Western Mass News was on the red carpet to speak with fans and follow all the action.

SPRINGFIELD, MA (WGGB/WSHM) -- The brightest stars in basketball were in Springfield Saturday night for the 2021 Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.

Western Mass News was on the red carpet to speak with fans and follow all the action.

“I’ve never been here before, and this is crazy. I’ve never been so close to all these NBA players it’s like once in a lifetime,” Hampden resident Bill Simmons said.

Basketball fans flocking to downtown Springfield on Saturday night for the 2021 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Enshrinement.

One Celtics fan, coming all the way from Rhode Island, said he’s excited to get an up-close look at a Boston legend.

“The truth, Paul Pierce, getting in. A Celtic, my favorite athlete of all time,” Celtics fan Stephen Rush said.

Celtics legend Paul Pierce taking time to celebrate with fans before accepting his orange jacket and receiving basketball’s highest honor.

Pierce is one of the 16 people in this year’s hall of fame class, including Chris Bosh, Jay Wright, and Bill Russell making it the largest group of individuals to ever be enshrined into the hall.

“When he came into the league I was six, and he played until I was about 21. So 15 years can’t wait to see him and all the guys come through,” Rush said.

Other fans were also excited to see some of their favorite college basketball figures.

“My dad and his buddy they went to Villanova so big Jay Wright fans,” Simmons said.

The red carpet event is a who’s who of basketball stars past, present, and future and fans are thrilled to be back in person after the coronavirus pandemic prevented that the past two years.

“Just seeing all the people in person, you see them on TV or in the arena you’re so up high, but they’re gonna be 20 feet from us so, that’s very exciting,” Rush said.

This year, the ceremony is held at the MassMutual Center rather than its usual location at Symphony Hall.

Hall of Fame organizers taking precautions against COVID-19. All guests in attendance must provide proof of vaccination or submit a negative COVID test three days in advance.

Celtics fans in western Mass. letting everyone in attendance know who runs the show in town.

“Looking forward to it because it’s Celtics country you know?” Rush said.

The festivities will conclude on Sunday with a free “Rock n Hall” concert from 1 to 5 p.m. For more information, visit their website. 

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Copyright 2021 Western Mass News (Meredith Corporation).  All rights reserved.

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