The Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame is a unique facility in Knoxville. As I’ve mentioned, I’ve lived here my whole life, and I always thought this was just a museum for the Lady Vols (the women’s basketball team here at the University of Tennessee). I was totally wrong – it’s actually the Hall of Fame for women in basketball for the WORLD. Pretty cool, right?
The museum takes you through the entire history of women’s basketball. I really enjoyed seeing the historic women’s uniforms, showing just how they evolved and what materials were used – and I am so glad we don’t have to wear those outfits to play sports today! Next to the description and time period of each uniform, there is a spot for you to feel the material. The first uniform was made of wool, and I can’t imagine playing sports in that scratchy outfit.
As you move through the museum, listening to recordings of basketball shoes on a court and a coach talking to the team as they practice, you learn how everything had started for women in basketball. In 1926, the AAU (Amateur Athletic Union) sanctioned women’s basketball with the first national tournament held in Pasadena, CA. Industrial and school-affiliated teams, such as Cook’s Goldblumes, Hanes Hosiery, and Nashville Business College, dominated AAU women’s basketball for almost 50 years. A touch to the museum that I thought was cool, is they had several play white boards for different coaches showing a play drawn and signed by whatever coach had made that play.
Towards the end of these exhibits, you see a limo. My first thought was, “What does a limo have to do with basketball and why is it in the Hall of Fame?” It wasn’t just any limo, it was the limo for the All-American Red Heads, 1936-1986. The Red Heads was a team that was bought by a hairdresser and her husband who coached. The Moores bought the team and moved them to Caraway, Arkansas. Coach Moore’s wife, Lorene, had played on the team for 11 years. Coach Moore also choreographed many of their special acts, including the Half-Time Sportacular. Coach Moore’s Red Heads were known for their trick shots, trick plays, and were first to use knee dribbling on the basketball court. The All-American Red Heads were so popular that during 1964-1971 there may have been as many as three Red Head teams traveling the Country. When they traveled, they would all get into the 1966 Pontiac Airporter Limousine and head to the next city they were playing in. They traveled over 40,000 miles going city to city to play. Sometimes playing one night, packing up, and driving to the next city to play that following day. Coach Moore decided to retire and disband the Red Heads after 50 years of playing.
At the end of the exhibit there is the Hall of Honor. This room lists the players, coaches, referees and more with the class/year they were honored. You may not be a huge basketball fan, but I can just about guarantee you will enjoy this fascinating museum. It’s also a great place to take the kids and wear them out, as the lower level of the museum has a court with hoops to practice your shots.
From basketballs to disco balls – what the heck is that big gold ball in Knoxville’s skyline? If someone asked me to visualize Knoxville (besides thinking of the Vols) I would think of the Sunsphere. The Sunsphere just adds something to our skyline that no one else has. The Sunsphere was built in 1982 for the World’s Fair. The theme for that fair was Energy Turns the World (which makes sense since the Oak Ridge National Laboratory is nearby, and we’re also home to TVA, the Tennessee Valley Authority). The observation deck on the 4th floor has a 360-degree view. What’s a better way to see somewhere you’re visiting and get a feel for where things are? From the observation deck, you can see the World’s Fair Park, downtown Knoxville, the Tennessee River, the University of Tennessee, and a clear day all the way to the mountains!
Be sure to check out the inset exhibits to learn more about the region and what you’re looking at in each direction. It was so cool to see Knoxville’s downtown area and see how close and walkable everything is here. When you’re visiting, simply park and walk to wherever you’re going. Or you can always take a KAT Trolley – they’re free! There are 3 different lines; the Green covers downtown and the Old City, the Blue goes to the Knoxville Civic Auditorium and Coliseum, and the Orange naturally takes you to the University of Tennessee.
I hope you feel inspired to check out some of these places I’ve gone. Tag your photos #knoxrocks on social media and share your fun with everyone!