The North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame was established in February 1963, with the support of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, "to honor those persons who by excellence of their activities in or connected with the world of sports have brought recognition and esteem to themselves and to the State of North Carolina." The Hall of Fame inducted its first five members in December of that year.
Since that time, the inductees, elected annually, have donated mementos of their sports careers to the Hall of Fame. In 1969 the Charlotte Coliseum agreed to display these objects in the corridor of the building, hoping to eventually expand the building to include a room dedicated to the Hall of Fame. The expansion never occurred, however, and in 1981 the objects moved to the North Carolina Museum of History in Raleigh. In 1994 a 4,000-square-foot (370 m²) permanent exhibit titled North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame opened at the museum.
Visitors to the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame can see such artifacts as Richard Petty’s race car, North Carolina State University basketball coach Jim Valvano’s warm-up suit, Arnold Palmer’s Ryder Cup golf bag, Meadowlark Lemon’s Harlem Globetrotters basketball uniform, North Carolina State University coach Kay Yow’s Olympic team basketball, and University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill football star Charlie "Choo Choo" Justice’s jersey.
As of 2005 the North Carolina Sports Hall of Fame numbers 220 members.