Men’s College Basketball Benefits from Hall of Fame

August 26, 2014 by Jim Haney

Like most sports, basketball has its share of halls of fame.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opened in 1968 in Springfield, Massachusetts, near the very place where Dr. James Naismith invented the game. The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame opened in 1999 in Knoxville, Tennessee, which was at the epicenter of the women’s game and home to its most successful coach and college program.

Both these halls of fame recognize players, coaches and contributors at all levels of basketball – the Naismith recognizing those affiliated with the game in the United States and internationally but with an emphasis on the professional game; while the women’s hall of fame is dedicated to men and women whose influence pertains strictly to the women’s game.

There is only one hall of fame that recognizes the greatest players, coaches and contributors in men’s college basketball. Located inside the interactive College Basketball Experience and adjacent to Sprint Center in downtown Kansas City is a room whose walls include the names of men who had profound impacts on the game – the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

Names like Kenny Sailors, the Wyoming star who is credited with inventing the modern-day jump shot; and Christian Laettner, the Duke phenom whose NCAA tournament run is unparalleled and resulted in one of the championship’s seminal moments. Coaches such as Kentucky’s Joe B. Hall and Oklahoma State’s Eddie Sutton – men who led their teams to the top of the mountain during their storied careers. And contributors like Jim Host, the game’s first true marketer; and George Raveling, a motivator, barrier-breaker, coach, marketer and philosopher.

These men are true hall of famers. Fortunately, there is a place that captures their stories and memorializes their contributions. If it weren’t for the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, they might never get their debt of gratitude repaid from those of us who so deeply love this game.

On November 23 in Kansas City, we will induct the ninth class of college basketball Hall of Famers – players Shaquille O’Neal, Grant Hill, Darrell Griffith and Zelmo Beaty; coaches Dale Brown and Gary Williams; and contributors Howard Garfinkel and Dr. Glenn Wilkes.

I can’t think of a finer group of men – the Class of 2014 – to join the men already enshrined in the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame.

It’s important that we recognize everyone who impacted this great game.

Jim Haney is the executive director of the National Association of Basketball Coaches.