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U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal Announces the House Passage of H.R. 1235, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act

September 25, 2017
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Representative Richard E. Neal announced on Monday the passage of H.R. 1235, The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act in the House of Representatives. Neal, along with his colleague from Kentucky, Representative Andy Barr, co-sponsored the bill as a way to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the invention of basketball.

The game of basketball began in a YMCA gymnasium in Springfield, Massachusetts. In December of 1891, a physical education professor named Dr. James Naismith created a game with a simple objective; throw a round ball into a peach basket suspended 10 feet above the ground. Thanks to the networks of YMCAs throughout the country and the game's successes on various college campuses, the sport soon became a national phenomenon. The first home of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame opened on the campus of Springfield College in 1968. Its current location on the banks of the Connecticut River opened in 2002 and welcomes six million visitors annually.

“The First Congressional District of Massachusetts has many gems and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame is certainly one of them,” said Representative Neal. "I have long been a supporter of the Hall of Fame and the great work that they do in the greater Springfield area. They are a terrific organization that works tirelessly to preserve the history and educate people about this truly American game. The Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin is the ideal way for the legacy of these great athletes and coaches to be remembered for decades to come and I am thankful for the hard work of Congressman Barr for helping pass this legislation in the House.”

“As the Representative of central and eastern Kentucky, home to the greatest tradition in the history of college basketball and several members of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, I am proud that this legislation has now passed the House,” said Representative Barr.  I have enjoyed working with my colleague, Congressman Neal, as well as the Hall of Fame to build support and pass this legislation which we hope will move in the U.S. Senate soon.”

“The Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame is honored and grateful for the strong support of our commemorative coin act which will allow us to continue to educate fans worldwide about the game and its unique history,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame. “A game created in Springfield, Massachusetts has become a global phenomenon and truly a universal language of community, diversity, and sportsmanship. The Hall of Fame thanks Congressmen Richard E. Neal and Andy Barr for their unwavering support as we celebrate the game that has captured the imagination of fans and players around the globe.”

These coins would come with no cost to the American taxpayer and the surcharges on these coins will go to further the museum's curation efforts. The proceeds will also go towards educational program that promote good sportsmanship and respect on and off the court. This bill now goes to the Senate, where Senators Elizabeth Warren and John McCain are the co-sponsors.