This past week I went to the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts. It was a very good experience for a basketball fanatic like myself. I was able to see the history of basketball and see how much basketball has grown since that first peach basket in James A. Naismith’s gym. I have also been to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio. That was also a good experience because I got to see various artifacts from the game and see the history of football. When you get down to the similarities and differences between the two, they are very much alike, but also very different. Below I will discuss three categories for what made each Hall of Fame so great. Within those categories I will discuss what grade I would give to each Hall of Fame. The categories will be: Presentation, Content (how they showed the history of their sport), and Interactive Activities.
Canton- A-: The Pro Football Hall of Fame had an overall great presentation. To show the Hall of Famers, they had busts for every one of them. In that same area with the busts, there was a hologram of a standard Super Bowl ring. However, they could have done better with their presentation. When I was walking around it just looked like a sports museum; this is technically what all halls of fame are, but it should look like a Hall of Fame. The Pro Football Hall of Fame just didn’t display that. Don’t forget that I gave it an A-, so it wasn’t a total bust. I liked how they showed the different eras of helmets and they also showed different players shoes, like former Vikings receiver Cris Carter shoes were the best. If you are real big on presentation, the Pro Football Hall of Fame did well, but it could have done better.
Springfield- A+: The Basketball Hall of Fame flat out owned in presentation. They have a full regulation court where you can shoot hoops. By far, that had to be the biggest attraction. On the court, they also had the different eras of basketball hoops all the way from the first peach basket to present day. They also displayed this huge poster on the court that said Basketball Hall of Fame and had all the greats of the game on it. Coming in to the Basketball Hall of Fame, you see various quotes from basketball greats like Bill Russell and Larry Bird. You can also see the size of various players feet. I remember Michael Jordan’s foot size was a 13. Again, if you really think presentation is important then the Basketball Hall of Fame is the place to be.
Content (In other words, History of the respective sports)
Canton- A+: The Football Hall of Fame did an excellent job in showing the history of football. Coming in they had a plaque of the old 1960s Packers teams. They also had a statue of Jim Thorpe near the entrance; Otis Thorpe was a pioneer of football on the Canton Bulldogs. Going into present day, they had a room where they showed the history of all the NFL teams with each of their respective helmets. You could see lockers of players jerseys such as Jim Brown and in that same room was a statue of George Halas and Johnny Unitas. When it comes to content, the Football Hall of Fame was a touchdown.
Springfield- A+: The Basketball Hall of Fame too greatly showed the history of basketball. There was a Honors Ring that had all of the Hall of Famers pictures with a mini-biography, were different artifacts like a Harlem Globetrotters ball, and also a reporter’s microphone from ESPN. On one floor they showed famous coaches like Mike Krzyzewski and Bob Knight’s offenses and accomplishments of other various coaches. What I really liked was the different offensive and defensive strategies coaches used such as Bob Knight’s motion offense and Tex Winter’s Triple Post offense (aka the Triangle offense) that was used by legendary coach Phil Jackson. Like the Football Hall of Fame, the Basketball Hall of Fame showed different players and teams lockers such as the Miami Heat’s 2012 NBA Finals locker and a Celtics locker. Overall, basketball junkies alike will greatly appreciate the display of the history of basketball.
Canton- B-: The Pro Football Hall of Fame did not have many interactive activities. It was mainly just walk around the Hall and see. The only legitimate activity they had was target practice where you could try and throw a football through various targets. Overall, the Pro Football Hall of Fame did not have many hands-on things for the fans.
Springfield- A+: I was amazed with the interactive activities the Basketball Hall of Fame had to offer. While there you could test your vertical leap, play on the full court that I mentioned in the presentation category, commentate a famous moment in basketball history, do a broadcast and play a game of virtual hoops against an NBA player. It was incredible. For a basketball fan it was everything you could want. Who doesn’t want to get to call a famous moment in basketball history? I called John Havlicek’s steal from the 1965 Eastern Finals and Christian Laettner’s shot in the 1992 Elite 8 against Kentucky. Yes, overall the Basketball Hall of Fame greatly outlasted the Football Hall of Fame’s interactive activities.
Reflection and what the Cavs could do
Like I said, when you get down to it, both Hall of Fames are great. It really just depends on what sport you like better. If you like football more, then you probably will enjoy the Football Hall of Fame more than you would the Basketball Hall of Fame. Same with the Basketball Hall of Fame. As for our Cleveland Cavaliers, they have a long way to go to be as great as Hall of Famer Nate Thurmond. If they work hard and have a will to win, they just might get there.