Vlade Divac. Bobby Jones. Paul Westphal. Teresa Weatherspoon. Sidney Moncrief. Jack Sigma. What does each of these names have in common? What about Bill Fitch, Carl Braun, and Chuck Cooper? If you’ve recognized these names as the most recent inductees into the NBA Hall of Fame, well done. The 2019 inductees have joined a prestigious litany of hundreds of accomplished players, coaches, refs, and contributors to have made the game of basketball what it is today.
Named in honor of James Naismith (creator of the sport) the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame serves as the hallowed halls of all that is good and great about hardwood history. It’s mission? “To honor and celebrate basketball’s greatest moments and people.” But the BHoF recognizes more than simply the elite professional athletes of the NBA, the Springfield, MA-based organization celebrates the game at every level, including college and high school, and reveres the sport’s celebrated contributors both male and female.
Beginning as a more abstract institution back in 1959, the group’s first physical location would open its doors in February of 1968. Housed within Springfield College, the organization celebrated Springfield, Massachusetts as the birthplace of the game itself. Seventeen years later, the ‘Hall’ would be relocated to a new home in the iconic $11M facility that it still occupies to this very day. Providing the stage on which new inductees are welcomed annually while serving as both museum and shrine of the sport which inspired it, the BHoF is a sight to behold.
Over 40,000 square feet of basketball history is enshrined within the facility’s museum space. In addition, it houses several interactive exhibits and opportunities for visitors to test their own skills, as well as restaurants and an extensive gift shop. From an outside view, the museum appears as a massive post-modern structure emerging from either side of an illuminated 80,000 square foot sphere symbolic of a basketball itself. Of course, if you live in – or around – the western Massachusetts area, we probably didn’t need to explain its appearance since its attention-grabbing design is easily seen from I-91.
Whether you’re local, making the 90-minute westward trek from Boston, or visiting from out-of-state, the BHoF is a must-see venue for any lovers of the game. The diversity of memorabilia is a testament to the longevity and cultural impact of the sport, and perfect for the sort of enthusiast who commits rankings, rosters, and statistics to memory. On the other hand, interactive exhibits are perfect for everyone, including less committed visitors and young children. No matter which camp you consider yourself a part of, there’s no shortage of features to catch your eye, or ways to spend your time.
And the ability to play freely on the court is always nice. Sure, it might be crowded depending on where the attendance falls on whatever day you visit, but remember, you’re in the company of those who love the sport as much as (if more than) you do. So, embrace it. You’re in good company.
Sports Management Program
As with any community-minded organization, the Basketball Hall of Fame sponsors a number of events and programs within the community.
One of the most interesting programs offered by the BHoF falls under the auspices of mentorship, designed for high school and college-aged students with interest in Sports Management. Providing opportunities to discuss, gain more insights and secure mentorship regarding the industry the program focuses on a variety of career subsets related to sport management, including those tailored around the Hall of Fame itself.
The program utilizes relationship with surrounding colleges to help further opportunities to explore this career field on a variety of levels and would be of interest to anyone looking to do so.
Admission, Discounts & Fall Hours of Operation
Ticket Prices for Children (aged 5-15) are set at $16.00
Adult tickets (aged 16 – 64) are currently set at $25.00
Senior Citizen ticket prices are set at $20.00
Children under the age of 4 are admitted free-of-charge.
There are also annual ‘Hall Passes’ that can be purchased for $50.00 (Youth) or $100.00 (Adult) and a variety of discounts for active and retired military personnel, first responders, AAA members, as we all as members of the Massachusetts Teachers Association.
Hours of Operation are set seasonally. For anyone planning to visit before December 1st, the BHoF is open Sunday through Friday (10 AM – 4 PM) and Saturday (10 AM – 5 PM) with the only scheduled closing being Thanksgiving Day, November 28th.
If you would like more information on the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, visit their website at hoophall.com or you can contact them directly at 1-877-446-6752. That’s 1-877-4HOOPLA.
Hey, we see what they did there…