SPRINGFIELD, MA. (WDRB) – It was John Calipari's moment. Or so we thought.
In the middle of Calipari's Hall of Fame enshrinement speech Friday night, the UK coach called for his players past and present to join him on the stage of Springfield Symphony Hall.
"As you can see, I have been so blessed to have all those opportunities, but the reason I stand here is more about the players I’ve coached," said Calipari. "I’m here because I coached the greatest group of kids over my time that anyone could ever imagine."
Players from UMASS, Memphis, and UK took the stage and joined Calipari for the reminder of his speech. Cal called his players, "la familia."
Devin Booker was one of the players who joined Calipari on the stage.
"It goes back to him being a players first coach," said Booker after the ceremony. "I was surprised (to join him) because it's his day. He honestly means it when he says, 'I want it to be about us and not him.'"
Calipari wasn't the only person with UK ties to be enshrined Friday. Former Wildcat Star Louie Dampier officially entered the Hall as well. Dampier told WDRB he would keep his speech to five minutes earlier in the week. He explained why during his speech.
"Fran ( A hall of fame employee) told me you better not go over five minutes or I'll get fired," joked Dampier. "The people who spoke before me, you obviously do not care about Fran's job."
Dampier was the second to last speaker of the night. The final words of the evening went to Calipari, who closed his speech with this:
"I have learned throughout my career that coaching for fame and fortune is fleeting. If that’s what you chase, you’ll probably get fired like I did by the Nets. On the other hand, if you make sure others eat first, you’ll end up with more than you can ever eat."
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