The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has 361 inductees that were either players, coaches, refs, contributors, or teams. Also called Hoop Hall, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has honored and celebrated basketball's most influential people that was involved with the sport since 1959. Interactive exhibits, skills challenges, live clinics, and shooting contests make this Hall of Fame more enjoyable than the average museum. This landmark structure is one of the world’s most distinctive monuments highlighting the Springfield skyline.
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is named after the late Dr. James Naismith who is credited for inventing the game. Naismith was a physical education instructor and introduced this new game to his class of 18 young men in a quite unremarkable gymnasium at the YMCA International Training School in Springfield, MA. The game was first played on December 21, 1891. The winning team in that first game only scored one basket.
The National Association of Basketball Coaches took up the cause to initiate a capital campaign to erect a memorial to late Dr. Naismith and the game he created. However, America's entry into World War II in 1941 postponed any thoughts of a Hall of Fame. In 1949, the NABC renewed its commitment to honor the game and its inventor. Ten years later, despite the lack of a physical structure to call home, the Basketball Hall of Fame was incorporated and announced its first inductees.
During a pivotal time for the sport, the original Basketball Hall of Fame opened on February 17, 1968. A month before its opening, on January 20, 1968, Elvin Hayes led the University of Houston to a close 71-69 victory over Lew Alcindor and the Bruins of UCLA in college basketball's version of the Game of the Century. That night, more than 50,000 fans filled the Houston Astrodome and millions more watch from their homes as this thrilling battle was the first regular season game to be broadcast live on national television.
To be nominated and potentially inducted into the Hall of Fame there are requirements for the people that made a impact on the sport. A player has to be retired from the game of basketball for 5 years and in their 6th year of retirement they are eligible for the Hall of Fame Notable players are Michael Jordan, Kareem Abdul Jabbar, and Larry Bird. A coach has to be retired for 5 years or had to had been a full time coach on the high school, college or pro level for at least 25 years. Notable coaches are John Wooden, John Callipari, and Jim Calhoun. A referee has to be retired for 5 years or had to have been refereeing the game of basketball for 25 years. Notable referees are Hank Nichols and Dick Bavetta.