|Basketball Hall of Fame|
|Type||Professional sports hall of fame|
The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, located in Springfield, Massachusetts, United States, honors exceptional basketball players, coaches, referees, executives, and other major contributors to the game.
Named after basketball's 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 287 individuals.
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, Massachusetts in 1968. A new building off-campus was opened near downtown Springfield in 1985.
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.
In contrast to the Pro Football and the Baseball 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 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 omitting some accomplished players.
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).
Three times the Hall has inducted new classes without honoring a player - 1965, 1968, and 2007.
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.