by Patrick Cavanaugh
I recently had the opportunity to visit the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. I never knew you could squeeze heaven into 40,000 square feet of basketball history. I will now try my best to describe the sights and sounds inside the “Hoop Hall,” a historical monument celebrating its 53rd anniversary.
I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn Springfield, which is just a short walk across the parking lot from the Basketball Hall of Fame. On Saturday, my family and I decided to cross the lot and enter the complex. There are several business in a building that connects to the sphere-shaped Hall of Fame. It is an overwhelming site to take in. They even have an ESPN Radio station in the building!
As you approach the entrance, there are two basketball hoops outside on the sidewalk. There were a few groups in attendance at the Hall of Fame, so as we walked by, we saw a few youngsters taking layups.
Once inside the building, the entrance to the Hall of Fame is on the right. On the walls, pictures of some of the most well-known basketball players, coaches, and officials pictures and names were shown. On the floor, you could compare your shoe size with all-stars like Shaquille O’Neal or Bob Lanier.
Once you enter the official Basketball Hall of Fame, you are in an open gym where people of all ages are taking shots on an NBA regulation-sized court. They have a dunk challenge in the corner of the gym. Five hoops are set up all at different heights, and people of all ages were showing their skills.
We then head up the stairs to the second level. On this floor, there are exhibits honoring teams and coaches at all levels. At each exhibit, there was a locker room type setup. You can open the lockers and learn some interesting facts about each topic.
All of the exhibits are set up by skill-level. They put all of the high-school exhibits together, all of the college exhibits together, all of the NBA exhibits together.
As you walk around, there are some interactive activities too. Whether it is virtual basketball, testing how high you can jump, or playing arcade-style basketball. After we played all of the interactive games, we reached my favorite part of the Hall of Fame, the media exhibits.
Looking down on the court, they had exhibits where you could call a play as a broadcaster, read a teleprompter as a studio anchor, or see all different camera views as a television producer. It was great!
Then, 0n the third level, was perhaps the most interesting. It was the Honors Ring. I walked around and looked at every inductee and each artifact. With each name came an in-depth description of each inductee and what they contributed to the game that Dr. Naismith created years ago.
Overall, it was a great place to visit. I gained so much knowledge while having fun at the Basketball Hall of Fame. I thought I knew all there was to the game of basketball, going into the Hall of Fame, but I was completely wrong. It is a great place to visit, and I recommend it to everyone! What a great time!
Patrick Cavanaugh covers New England sports for www.BostonSportsU18.com and BostonSportsRadio.net. He can be reached at .