Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame

Last updated
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.jpg
Established 1959
Location Springfield, Massachusetts
Type Professional sports hall of fame
President John Doleva
Chairperson Jerry Colangelo
Website Official website

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is an American history museum and hall of fame, located at 1000 Hall of Fame Avenue in Springfield, Massachusetts. It serves as the sport's most complete library, in addition to promoting and preserving the history of basketball. Dedicated to Canadian-American physician and inventor of the sport James Naismith, it was opened and inducted its first class in 1959.

Springfield, Massachusetts City in Massachusetts

Springfield is a city in the state of Massachusetts, United States, and the seat of Hampden County. Springfield sits on the eastern bank of the Connecticut River near its confluence with three rivers: the western Westfield River, the eastern Chicopee River, and the eastern Mill River. As of the 2010 Census, the city's population was 153,060. As of 2018, the estimated population was 155,032, making it the third-largest city in Massachusetts, the fourth-most populous city in New England after Boston, Worcester, and Providence, and the 12th-most populous in the Northeastern United States. Metropolitan Springfield, as one of two metropolitan areas in Massachusetts, had a population of 692,942 as of 2010.

History of basketball

The history of basketball began with its invention in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts by Canadian physical education instructor James Naismith as a less injury-prone sport than football. Naismith was a 31-year old graduate student when he created the indoor sport to keep athletes indoors during the winters. The game became established fairly quickly and grew very popular as the 20th century progressed, first in America and then in other parts of the world. After basketball became established in American colleges, the professional game followed. The American National Basketball Association (NBA), established in 1946, grew to a multibillion-dollar enterprise by the end of the century, and basketball became an integral part of American culture.

James Naismith Canadian-American coach; inventor of basketball

James Naismith was a Canadian-American physical educator, physician, Christian chaplain, sports coach, and innovator. He invented the game of basketball at age 30 in 1891. He wrote the original basketball rule book and founded the University of Kansas basketball program. Naismith lived to see basketball adopted as an Olympic demonstration sport in 1904 and as an official event at the 1936 Summer Olympics in Berlin, as well as the birth of the National Invitation Tournament (1938) and the NCAA Tournament (1939).

Contents

As of the induction of the Class of 2018, the Hall has formally inducted 389 individuals.

History of the Springfield building

The Naismith Hall of Fame was established in 1959 by Lee Williams, a former athletic director at Colby College. In the 1960s, the Basketball Hall of Fame struggled to raise enough money for the construction of its first facility. However, during the following half-decade the necessary amount was raised, and the building opened on Feb. 17, 1968, less than one month after the National Basketball Association played its 18th All-Star Game. The Basketball Hall of Fame's Board named four inductees in its first year. In addition to honoring those who contributed to basketball, the Hall of Fame sought to make contributions of its own. In 1979, the Hall of Fame sponsored the Tip-Off Classic, a pre-season college basketball exhibition. This Tip-Off Classic has been the start to the college basketball season ever since, and although it does not always take place in Springfield, Massachusetts, generally it returns every few years.

Leon Palmer "Lee" Williams was an American basketball coach and executive. He coached at Colby College from 1946 to 1965, and later was the executive director of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He is a member of the Maine Sports Hall of Fame. In 1985, he received the John Bunn Award.

Colby College private liberal arts college located on Mayflower Hill in Waterville, Maine, USA

Colby College is a private liberal arts college in Waterville, Maine. Approximately 1,800 students from more than 60 countries are enrolled annually. The college offers 54 major fields of study and 30 minors. It was founded in 1813 as the Maine Literary and Theological Institution until it was renamed after the city it resides in with Waterville College. The donations of Christian philanthropist Gardner Colby saw the institution renamed again to Colby University before concluding on its final and current title, reflecting its liberal arts college curriculum.

The National Basketball Association (NBA) is a men's professional basketball league in North America, composed of 30 teams. It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world.

In the 17 years that the original Basketball Hall of Fame operated at Springfield College, it drew more than 630,000 visitors. The popularity of the Basketball Hall of Fame necessitated that a new facility be constructed, and in 1985, an $11 million facility was built beside the scenic Connecticut River in Springfield. As the new hall opened, it also recognized women for the first time, with inductees such as Senda Berenson Abbott, who first introduced basketball to women at Smith College. During the years following its construction, the Basketball Hall of Fame's second facility drew far more visitors than ever anticipated, due in large part to the increasing popularity of the game but also to the scenic location beside the river and the second Hall's interesting modern architecture[ citation needed ].

Connecticut River River in the New England region of the United States

The Connecticut River is the longest river in the New England region of the United States, flowing roughly southward for 406 miles (653 km) through four states. It rises at the U.S. border with Quebec, Canada, and discharges at Long Island Sound. Its watershed encompasses five U.S. states and one Canadian province, 11,260 square miles (29,200 km2) via 148 tributaries, 38 of which are major rivers. It produces 70% of Long Island Sound's fresh water, discharging at 19,600 cubic feet (560 m3) per second.

Senda Berenson Abbott Basketball pioneer

Senda Berenson Abbott was a figure of women's basketball and the author of the first Basketball Guide for Women (1901–07). She was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor on July 1, 1985, the International Jewish Sports Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.

Smith College private womens liberal arts college in Massachusetts

Smith College is a private women's liberal arts college in Northampton, Massachusetts. Although its undergraduate programs are open to women only, its graduate and certificate programs are also open to men. It is the largest member of the Seven Sisters. Smith is also a member of the Five Colleges Consortium, which allows its students to attend classes at four other Pioneer Valley institutions: Mount Holyoke College, Amherst College, Hampshire College, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst. In its 2018 edition, U.S. News & World Report ranked it tied for 11th best among National Liberal Arts Colleges.

In 2002, the Basketball Hall of Fame moved again [1] —albeit merely 100 yards south along Springfield's riverfront—into a $47 million facility designed by renowned architects Gwathmey Siegel & Associates. The building's architecture features a metallic silver, basketball-shaped sphere flanked by two similarly symmetrical rhombuses. The dome is illuminated at night and features 80,000 square foot (7,400 m²), including numerous restaurants and an extensive gift shop. The second Basketball Hall of Fame was not torn down but rather converted into an LA Fitness health clubs. The current Basketball Hall of Fame features Center Court, a full-sized basketball court on which visitors can play. Inside the building there are a game gallery, many interactive exhibits, several theaters, and an honor ring of inductees. A large theater for ceremonies seats up to 300. The honorees inducted in 2002 included the Harlem Globetrotters and Magic Johnson, a five-time NBA champion, three-time NBA finals MVP and Olympic gold medalist. [2]

Gwathmey Siegel Kaufman & Associates Architects LLC is a New York City-based architectural firm founded in 1967 by architects Charles Gwathmey and Robert Siegel.

Rhombus quadrilateral in which all sides have the same length

In plane Euclidean geometry, a rhombus is a simple (non-self-intersecting) quadrilateral whose four sides all have the same length. Another name is equilateral quadrilateral, since equilateral means that all of its sides are equal in length. The rhombus is often called a diamond, after the diamonds suit in playing cards which resembles the projection of an octahedral diamond, or a lozenge, though the former sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 60° angle, and the latter sometimes refers specifically to a rhombus with a 45° angle.

LA Fitness health club chain in the United States and Canada

LA Fitness International LLC is an American gym chain with more than 700 clubs across the United States and Canada. The company was formed in 1984 and is based in Irvine, California.

As of 2011, the current Basketball Hall of Fame has greatly exceeded attendance expectations, with basketball fans traveling to the Hall of Fame from all over the world. Despite the new facility's success, a logistical problem remains for the Basketball Hall of Fame and the City of Springfield. The two entities (along with the riverfront area entirely) are separated by the Interstate 91 elevated highway—one of the eastern United States' busiest highways—which, essentially, inhibits foot-traffic and other interaction between the Basketball Hall of Fame and Springfield's increasingly lively Metro Center. Both the Hall and Springfield have made public statements about cooperating further so as to facilitate even more business and recreational growth for both; however the placement and height of Interstate 91 remain physical obstacles. Urban planners at universities such as UMass Amherst have called for the I-91 to be moved, or to be re-configured so as to be pedestrian-friendly to Hall of Fame visitors. In 2010, the Urban Land Institute announced a plan to make the walk between Springfield's Metro Center and the Hall of Fame (and riverfront) easier. [3]

Interstate 91 (I-91) is an Interstate Highway in the New England region of the United States. It provides the primary north–south thoroughfare in the western part of the region. The Interstate generally follows the course of the Connecticut River. Its southern end is in New Haven, Connecticut, at Interstate 95. The northern end of the American-maintained road is in the village of Derby Line, Vermont, at the Canadian border. I-91 then continues past the Derby Line-Rock Island Border Crossing, where the road's official name changes to Autoroute 55. I-91 is the longest of three Interstate highways whose entire route is located within the New England states and is also the only primary (two-digit) Interstate Highway in New England to intersect all five of the others that run through the region. The largest cities along its route are New Haven, Connecticut, Hartford, Connecticut, Springfield, Massachusetts, Brattleboro, Vermont, White River Junction, Vermont, and St. Johnsbury, Vermont in order from south to north.

Metro Center, Springfield, Massachusetts human settlement in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States of America

Metro Center is the original colonial settlement of Springfield, Massachusetts, located beside a bend in the Connecticut River. As of 2019, Metro Center features a majority of Western Massachusetts' most important cultural, business, and civic venues. Metro Center includes Springfield's Central Business District, its Club Quarter, its government center, its convention headquarters, and in recent years, it has become an increasingly popular residential district, especially among young professionals, empty-nesters, and creative types, with a population of approximately 7,000 (2010.)

University of Massachusetts Amherst public university in Massachusetts, USA

The University of Massachusetts Amherst is a public research and land-grant university in Amherst, Massachusetts. It is the flagship campus of the University of Massachusetts system. UMass Amherst has an annual enrollment of approximately 1,300 faculty members and more than 30,000 students. It was ranked 24th best public university and 64th best national university by U.S. World & News Report in its 2020 rankings.

A basketball sculpture soars into the sky above the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. Naismith basketball pole.jpg
A basketball sculpture soars into the sky above the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Criteria for induction

In contrast to the Pro Football and the National Baseball Halls of Fame, Springfield honors international and American professionals, as well as American and international amateurs, making it arguably the most comprehensive Hall of Fame among major sports. From 2011 to 2015 seven committees were, and as of 2016 six committees are employed to both screen and elect candidates. Four of the committees screen prospective candidates: [5]

Pro Football Hall of Fame Professional sports hall of fame in Canton, Ohio

The Pro Football Hall of Fame is the hall of fame for professional American football, located in Canton, Ohio. Opened in 1963, the Hall of Fame enshrines exceptional figures in the sport of professional football, including players, coaches, franchise owners, and front-office personnel, almost all of whom made their primary contributions to the game in the National Football League (NFL); the Hall inducts between four and eight new enshrinees each year. The Hall of Fame's Mission is to "Honor the Heroes of the Game, Preserve its History, Promote its Values & Celebrate Excellence EVERYWHERE."

National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum Professional sports hall of fame in New York, U.S.

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum is an American history museum and hall of fame, located in Cooperstown, New York, and operated by private interests. It serves as the central point for the study of the history of baseball in the United States and beyond, displays baseball-related artifacts and exhibits, and honors those who have excelled in playing, managing, and serving the sport. The Hall's motto is "Preserving History, Honoring Excellence, Connecting Generations." The word Cooperstown is often used as shorthand for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, similar to "Canton" for the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.

Since 2011, the Veterans and International Committees also vote to directly induct one candidate for each induction class. [7]

Three committees were formed in 2011 to directly elect one candidate for each induction class: [7]

Individuals who receive at least seven votes from the North American Screening Committee or five votes from one of the other screening committees in a given year are eligible to advance to an Honors Committee, composed of 12 members plus rotating groups of 12 specialists (one group for female candidates, one group for international candidates, and one group for American and veterans candidates) who vote on each candidate. Each screening committee has a limited number of candidates it may submit to the Honors Committee—10 from the North American Committee, and two from each of the other committees. Any individual receiving at least 18 affirmative votes (75% of all votes cast) from the Honors Committee is approved for induction into the Hall of Fame. As long as the number of candidates receiving sufficient votes from a screening committee is not greater than the number of finalists that the committee is permitted to submit, advancement to the Honors Committee is generally pro forma, although the Hall's Board of Trustees may remove from consideration any candidate who "has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball".[ dead link ] [6]

To be considered for induction by a screening committee, a player, retired coach, or referee must be fully retired from that role for at least three full seasons. [9] The waiting period had originally been five years, but was changed to four years in December 2015, [10] and to three seasons in December 2017. [9] Prior to the induction class of 2018, referees had been eligible for induction after 25 years of full-time service, even if still active. [10] Changes to the criteria for consideration of active coaches were also announced as part of the 2017 changes. Currently, coaches become eligible upon 25 years of full-time service at the high school level or above, or three seasons after retirement. [10] Effective with the class of 2020, active coaches must meet the years of service requirement and be at least 60 years old. [9] No years of service criterion is required for those who have made a "significant contribution to the game of basketball". Sportswriters and commentators are elected as full-fledged members, in contrast to the Baseball Hall of Fame that places them in separate wings from the "real" Hall of Fame. [6]

Controversy

Controversy has arisen over aspects of the Hall's voting procedures, including voter anonymity. While sportswriter voters of other major sports' Halls of Fame openly debate their choices, the Naismith Hall process is not transparent. [11] The Hall has also been criticized for a tendency to enshrine active collegiate coaches and relatively obscure players while omitting some accomplished players and coaches. [12]

Inductees

The entrance to the former site of the Basketball Hall of Fame near Metro Center Springfield. B-Ball HOF.jpg
The entrance to the former site of the Basketball Hall of Fame near Metro Center Springfield.

Since 1959, 395 coaches, players, referees, contributors, and teams have been inducted, [13] with the most recent class entering on September 8, 2018. [14] John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens, Bill Sharman, and Tom Heinsohn have each been inducted as both player and coach (Wooden in 1960 and 1973, Sharman in 1976 and 2004, Wilkens in 1989 and 1998, and Heinsohn in 1986 and 2015). [15] John McLendon has been inducted as both coach and contributor, entering in 1979 as a contributor and 2016 as a coach. [16]

On three occasions, the Hall has inducted new classes without honoring a player – 1965, 1968, and 2007. [17]

Other Hall awards

In conjunction with the Final Four of each year's NCAA Division I men's and women's basketball tournaments, the Naismith Hall gives out several awards to college basketball athletes:

For men, the Hall presents awards to the top players in Division I at each of the five standard basketball positions.

Each of the award winners is chosen by a Hall of Fame selection committee, plus the award's namesake.

The Hall, in cooperation with the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, presents analogous awards for the top Division I women's players at each position. One has been awarded since 2000; the others were first presented in 2018.

As with the men's awards, the selection committee for the women's awards includes each award's namesake.

The Hall also formerly presented the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award to two college seniors—one male player no taller than 72 inches (1.83 m), and one female player no taller than 68 inches (1.73 m)—determined to have been the nation's best student-athletes. The men's award, given since 1969, was voted on by the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC), and the women's, given since 1984, by members of the Women's Basketball Coaches Association. Both awards were discontinued after the 2012–13 season.

See also

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The First Team were the first players known to have played the sport of basketball, having been taught the game in 1891 by James Naismith, who is recognized as the inventor of the sport. The team comprised 18 players who were studying in Springfield, Massachusetts, to become executive secretaries of the YMCA and who, as part of their coursework, studied physical education with Naismith, who is said to have invented the game to teach teamwork skills to his charges. The team was inducted as a group into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as part of that organization's inaugural 1959 induction class for their efforts in popularizing the sport and as the game's first practitioners.

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References

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Coordinates: 42°05′37.5″N72°35′05.0″W / 42.093750°N 72.584722°W / 42.093750; -72.584722