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Archive for Friday, January 16, 2004

NABC targets K.C. for new hoops hall

January 16, 2004

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— The National Association of Basketball Coaches wants to build a hall of fame for men's college basketball near a downtown arena -- something the city doesn't have.

The group, based in Overland Park, agreed in 2000 to move its headquarters into downtown's Municipal Auditorium, a process that's been stalled by disappointing fund-raising efforts.

But as talk of building a new Kansas City arena heated up in recent months, the group came up with the college hall of fame idea, said Jim Haney, the association's executive director.

"We saw an opportunity to expand our goal and do something really significant," Haney said.

If it happens, Haney said, his 77-year-old nonprofit organization wants the hall of fame inside, or very close to, any new downtown arena.

However, no solid plan or clear source of financing for an arena, which might cost $200 million, has emerged. And the association also does not know where it would get the money for a hall.

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, in Springfield, Mass., has no problem with the NABC's idea.

"We would welcome it and see it as a friend," said John Doleva, the president of the private, nonprofit Naismith hall, which annually enshrines high school, college and professional athletes, coaches and teams.

Doleva said the proposed hall in Kansas City would be the perfect complement to the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn.

"We're certainly not looking to replace the Naismith Hall of Fame," Haney said. "What we envision is a real showcase for the coaches, players and the teams" that have had the most impact on men's college basketball.

"This would be unique," he said.

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