A $15,000 state grant is expected to help area tourism officials spread the message that Lawrence is a must-stop destination for basketball fans around the world.
"Lawrence is where basketball grew into itself and became a worldwide sport," said Christine Metz Howard, who previously served as the communications and marketing manager for the Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau and was a grant writer for the project. "We can tell that story better than anyone else in the world."
The Lawrence Convention and Visitors Bureau on Friday was awarded a $15,000 grant from the Kansas Department of Wildlife, Parks and Tourism to develop a documentary on Lawrence's basketball history and a logo that promotes Lawrence as "the cradle of basketball."
Although James Naismith didn't invent the game of basketball here, Lawrence was his longtime home, and he was Kansas University's first coach. Longtime KU coach Phog Allen often is cited as the father of basketball coaching and was the leader of the effort to get basketball added as an Olympic sport.
The city's basketball credentials are expected to get a boost, perhaps as soon as this year, when construction work begins on a new $18 million center to house Naismith's original rules of basketball. KU alumnus David Booth and his wife, Suzanne, purchased the rules for $4.3 million in 2010. The new center will be built adjacent to historic Allen Fieldhouse.
Howard, who now works in public affairs for KU, said the grant application envisioned producing about a 25-minute video on the area's basketball history. The video could be shown at the Lawrence Visitors Center and other locations in the community. It also would be produced in a way that would allow for segments of it to be shown online.
Top officials with the CVB weren't available on Friday to provide further details.