2020 and 2021 classes inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame

JACKSON, miss. (WLBT) – For once, the aftermath of a pandemic makes for a pretty cool moment at the Jackson Convention on Saturday night. The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame has welcomed 11 new members, six from the 2021 class and five from a 2020 class who had to wait a year for their official introduction due to COVID-19.

“It’s a special day to be honored with other greats,” said former Ole Miss and NFL linebacker Patrick Willis, who is part of the 2020 class along with Jerry Boatner, Pete Brown, Janet Marie Smith and Larry Templeton.

“In order to be able to do something that has been shown to me with the love that I have, I am simply grateful to everyone who was involved.”

The combo induction ceremony made for a star-studded occasion that even saw former PGA pro and 2021 class member Randy Watkins amazed at all of the local talent in one room.

“Most of the people in here are friends of mine or people who have been my hero all my life,” said Watkins. “It’s really humbling to be just a small part of it.”

Watkins was elected to the hall earlier this year along with Debbie Brock, Terrence Metcalf, Dave Randall, Lindsey Hunter and Erick Dampier.

For the latter two, who have competed against each other many times in the NBA, being voted into the same class is something no one will forget.

“Although we never played together, every time we saw each other it was love,” said Dampier of Hunter. “That’s because we both came from Mississippi and we’re all moving to Mississippi.”

“We all have something in common, we grew up here,” added Hunter. “It’s amazing how small the world really is, and especially the world of sports.”

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