Entrenched in basketball over here.
Rooting for the Lakers….and like the rest of the world, marvelling at Kobe.
Mourning the death of former UCLA basketball coach John Wooden in an ” I-didn’t-know-him-personally-but-loved-him” kind of way. I can’t stop reading the articles about him. What a great life.
I did have one brush with The Coach while I was a student at UCLA. I worked at the John Wooden Center throughout my four years as a Bruin. My job was to check the student and faculty identification cards to make sure no one unaffiliated with the university was admitted.
One day when I was a freshman or sophomore, a little old man walks up to my desk and stands there. So… I asked for his ID.
Yep. I carded the Wizard of Westwood… on the campus where he is worshipped…in a facility that has his name on it. Nice.
But the point of this story is his reaction. A man with a bigger ego could have had me fired. His response was gracious, humble, and showed a sense of humor. Coach Wooden simply put his hand on my desk…looked around… and in a gentle voice said “Am I going to have a problem getting into this place?”
I’m sure he had no problem entering the pearly gates.
So what does this have to do with a trip Wooden would hate? Knowing how humble he was, visiting the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. may not have been top on his list, since he was inducted there twice: Once as a player and another time as a coach.
Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame
That doesn’t mean all you basketball fans shouldn’t go – Springfield is about an hour and a half from Boston – near a major airport, and plenty of other sightseeing opportunities.
The facility has nearly 300 inductees, and about 40,000 square feet of memorabilia, interactive exhibits, and a basketball court on the first floor visible from the second and third floors. A nice addition is to hear the dribbling in the background while one browses through. Some interactive exhibits test one’s rebounding skills and shooting, let you measure your height compared to a pro player, and another lets you practice your broadcasting skills.
Some interesting artifacts on display: jerseys from players like Lebron James… the original written rules of the game…and a hand written speech that Coach Pat Riley gave after one of his games.
Note: I’v e never been myself, but it seems interesting. I’d definitely take my kids when I go to New England. However, some of the reviews I read about the place indicate that it is more compelling if you are a history buff because many of the current players and coaches haven’t been inducted yet.
If anyone’s been there let me know…otherwise, it’s up to you to experience the hoopla for yourself.
BTW - set your TIVOs tonight… Prime Ticket will rebroadcast “Scully and Wooden for the Kids” after the Dodgers post game show… Two sports legends together on stage that was only shown on tv once before.