NEW CASTLE, Ind. — With March Madness coming to an end, the
Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame is the perfect place to celebrate and learn
about the sport.
You can feel the history and heritage of basketball come to
life as you walk through the halls of the museum. Whether you want to learn more
about Indiana’s star players, see how the game has changed or take a step back
in time, there’s something for all basketball lovers to enjoy.
The assistant director of the Hall of Fame, Sharon Roberts,
shared facts about the museum and tips on how to make the most of a day at the
Q: What are the highlights of the
Basketball Hall of Fame?
A: We have several interactive exhibits. One where you can
take the game-winning shot is very popular. We also have “you make the call.”
You listen to the recording of the last few seconds of a great game, then you
can record the end yourself and play it back.
Q: How long has the Hall of Fame
A: We opened in New Castle in June of 1990. This will be our
24th year. I’ve worked for the Hall of Fame for 26 years. Before the building
was completed I was hired and I drove to Indianapolis for 11 months during the
Once we moved into the building, it took about a year to get
all the exhibits up and ready to go. It’s been a joy, that’s why I’m still here.
I’m going to retire January of next year. I’ve met many wonderful people, from
Coach Wooden to the kids that come in — everybody has a different story.
Q: Why is the building in New
A: They had a Hall of Fame in Indianapolis that started back
in 1962. It was basically just plaques and pictures. They decided in 1987 to do
this new project and build a new facility, hire a director.
So they had a search and the word got out about it. There
were 13 communities who put together a proposal as to why their community would
be the place to have it.
New Castle, being right next door to the world’s largest
high school field house and being close to Interstate 70, had the best
opportunities for the Hall of Fame.
Q: What players or coaches are
guests most interested in?
A: People come and want to know about Coach John Wooden and
Larry Bird. They are two of the most asked about gentlemen.
Q: Why does Indiana have such a
strong connection to basketball?
A: We have people from all over the country that come in and
say, “Basketball is just different in Indiana.” There’s a lot of history here.
The Hall of Fame has all of the history for Indiana about basketball — from the
small schools to the big schools.
A long time ago, one of the traveling trophies for the girls
team was a rolling pin with ribbons on it. There’s all kinds of history there.
The uniforms have changed, the basketballs have changed — the game has even
changed from when it started in 1891 to now.
Q: How many people are inducted
into the Hall of Fame each year?
A: There are 14 men and 11 women each year. They have to
have either played or coached high school basketball. About 1,000 people will
attend the Men’s Induction Banquet this year. They will come and look at their
displays, then attend a reception in Indianapolis.
Q: What’s one of the Hall of
Fame’s best-kept secrets?
A: The 70-plus volunteers we have would be our best-kept
secret. They help with many activities, as well as day-to-day operation of the
museum. Just today we had eight volunteers come to help with a tour of 107