Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame
In 1892, one year after James Naismith invented basketball, a woman coach introduced the sport at Smith College. The female sport underwent countless changes during its 100-plus-year history. A few of them: In 1918 bounce passes were legalized, in 1926 the first national women’s collegiate championship was held; in 1962 players were permitted to “snatch” the ball from each other; and in 1976 women’s basketball made its Olympic debut.
These and other milestones are remembered at the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame (700 Hall of Fame Dr., 865/633-9000, www.wbhof.com, summer Mon.–Fri. 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m., Sept.–Apr. Tues.–Fri. 11 a.m.–5 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.–6 p.m., Sun. 1–5 p.m., adults $7.95, seniors and children 6–15 $5.95), a museum dedicated to celebrating women’s achievement on the basketball court and to fostering future talent.
The Hall of Fame consists of interactive exhibits that recall the history and development of women’s basketball. Visitors will hear women’s basketball “inventor” Senda Berenson share her thoughts on the early days of the game. They will sit in a modern-day locker room and hear half-time talks by some of the best coaches in the modern sport.
Downstairs are basketball courts where you can test your skill against the sport’s best, shoot into baskets from different eras in history, and try on old and new uniforms. In addition, there are exhibits about international women’s basketball, the WNBA, and top women’s basketball college programs. Finally, visitors can pay tribute to the sport’s best at the 91-member Hall of Fame.
The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is located in an eye-catching building near the eastern end of Knoxville’s waterfront. It is home to the world’s largest basketball—30 feet tall and 10 tons heavy—which protrudes from the roof.
The Hall of Fame opened in Knoxville in 1999, and there was really no better city for it. The Tennessee Lady Vols are one of the most successful women’s basketball teams in the country, and their coach, Pat Head Summitt, is renowned for her style and success.
© Susanna Henighan Potter from Moon Tennessee, 5th Edition