Basketball Hall of Fame enshrinement events underway

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HONG KONG, CHINA: Fans greet National Basketball Association (NBA) star player Tracy McGrady shows his muscles during a promotional event for Adidas, in Hong Kong, 31 August 2005. McGrady is promoting Adidas' launch of a special edition of the T-Mac 5 shoe for the Chinese market. AFP PHOTO / PHILIPPE LOPEZ (Photo credit should read PHILIPPE LOPEZ/AFP/Getty Images)

SPRINGFIELD, MA– Basketball greats the likes of Rebecca Lobo, George McGinnis, Bill Self, and Tracy McGrady are in Springfield this week.

They are just a few members of the class of Basketball Hall of Fame 2017 inductees.

An entire weekend of festivities is scheduled, but Thursday, the public got their first chance to meet this year’s class including a local favorite.

This year’s 11-member class arrived in Springfield and sat down at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and signed autographs – a traditional start to the enshrinement weekend.

“We love welcoming the world to Springfield every year for this wonderful celebration here at the Hall of Fame, not just for us which is obviously the hallmark of what we’re about, but to have people come and see our beautiful city as things are transformed day by day, week by week,” said Paul Lambert with the Hall of Fame.

One of this year’s inductees is a hometown favorite: Rebecca Lobo, a Southwick native.

“I couldn’t be more excited. I grew up 15 miles from the Hall of Fame, visited the old Hall of Fame when I was a young girl, have been to the new Hall of Fame as a visitor many times,” Lobo said.

Lobo dominated at Southwick High, then went on to lead the UConn woman’s team to their first NCAA championship in 1995. She told Western Mass News that coming back home as an inductee is a thrill beyond words.

“I’m thrilled. I’m thrilled for my family. I’m thrilled for me. I’m thrilled for the town of Southwick because they are such a big part of helping me get here and it’s going to be an amazing weekend,” Lobo explained.

Lobo, a 6′ 4″ center, joined the WNBA in its inaugural season. She’s now a television analyst. She told Western Mass News that she’s proud to be from the 413.

“I love now seeing the hashtag on Twitter #413. People should be proud to be from the 413. A lot of great things happen because of the work ethic that you learn from growing up in this part of Massachusetts,” Lobo added.

This year’s enshrinement class includes:

Robert Hughes, Tracy McGrady, Bill Self, Rebecca Lobo, Muffet McGraw, Mannie Jackson, Tom Jernstedt, Jerry Krause, Zack Clayton, Nick Galis, and George McGinnis.