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The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame (Springfield, Massachusettsmarker) honors exceptional basketball players, all-time great coaches, referees, executives, and other major contributors to the game.

Named after basketball inventor Dr. James Naismith, its mission is to preserve and promote basketball at all levels and serve as the ultimate library of the sports's history.

To date, it has honored 285 individuals.


The entrance to the former site of the Basketball Hall of Fame near downtown Springfield.
The basketball in the sky above the Basketball Hall of Fame
The Naismith Hall of Fame was established in 1959 by Lee Williams, a former athletic director at Colby College, and opened its first public facility at Springfield College in Springfield, Massachusettsmarker in 1968. A new building off-campus was opened near downtown Springfield in 1985.

In 2002 a new $45 million, 80,000 square foot (7,400 m²) building designed by New York City architects Gwathmey Siegel & Associates Architects was opened next door replacing the previous facility.

Inside the building includes a game gallery and an honor ring of all of the inductees. A theater for the ceremonies throughout the year seats up to 300.

Criteria for induction

In contrast to the Pro Footballmarker and the Baseballmarker Halls of Fame, the Naismith Hall honors international professionals and American and international amateurs in addition to American professionals. It employs four screening committees to identify prospective nominees: one each for American candidates, female candidates, international candidates, and veterans candidates.

Individuals who receive at least five votes from a seven-member screening committee in a given year advance to an Honors Committee, composed of 12 members who vote on each candidate and rotating groups of 12 specialists (one group for female candidates, one group for international candidates, and one group for American and veterans candidates); any individual receiving at least 18 affirmative votes (75 percent of all votes cast) from the Honors Committee is approved for induction into the Hall of Fame. Advancement to the Honors Committee is generally pro forma, although the Hall's Board of Trustees may remove any candidate who "has damaged the integrity of the game of basketball" from consideration.

To be considered for induction by a screening committee, a player must be fully retired from play for at least five years, while a coach or referee must be fully retired for at least five years or have been active full time in his/her respective craft on the professional, collegiate, of high school level for at least 25 years. No years of service criterion is applied to those who have made a "significant contribution to the game of basketball". Sportswriters and commentators are elected as full-fledged members.


Controversy has arisen over many aspects of the Hall's voting procedures, including voter anonymity. While sportswriter voters of other major sports Halls of Fames openly debate their choices, the Naismith Hall does not make the process transparent. The Hall has also been widely criticized for a tendency to enshrine active collegiate coaches and relatively obscure players while highly notable omissions such as Norm Stewart and Artis Gilmore.


As of the Class of 2008 the Hall had honored 285 individuals. John Wooden, Lenny Wilkens, and Bill Sharman have each been inducted as both a player and coach (Wooden in 1961 and 1973, Sharman in 1976 and 2004, and Wilkens in 1989 and 2004, respectively).

Three times the Hall has inducted new classes without honoring a player, 1965, 1968, and 2007.

There are many players, coaches and referees in the Hall of Fame that changed the game of basketball . Recently, in the class of 2009, Michael Jordan, John Stockton, and David Robinson got inducted as players. Jerry Sloan and C. Vivian Stringer got introduced as coaches. There have been some teams that are famous for what they did inducted, most recently the Texas Western team, which was inducted in 2007. They were the 1st team with five African Americans in their starting lineup and won the NCAA college basketball national championship. People aren’t just inducted for how they played or coached. There are some announcers inducted too, most recently, ESPN announcer Dick Vitale, who is known for his terms in college basketball. In the first class ever inducted, Dr. James Naismith, who invented basketball was rightfully inducted, along with the first team ever assembled that Naismith made when he invented basketball.

Other Hall awards

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

For men, the Hall presents the Bob Cousy Award to the top point guard from among players in Divisions I, II, and III. This award, given since 2004, is voted on by Cousy and a selection of basketball writers, college basketball coaches, sports information directors and fans.

The Hall also presents the Frances Pomeroy Naismith Award to the female player under 68 inches in height and the male player under 72 inches determined to have been the nation's best student-athletes. The men's award, given since 1969, is 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.

See also


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