Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Tourism opportunity

Local officials should be taking a hard look at how the original rules of basketball might be used to anchor a major tourist attraction.


The prospect of bringing James Naismith’s original rules of basketball to Lawrence opens a window of opportunity for Kansas University and local tourism.

Last week, it was reported that Kansas Athletics Inc. was working with an architectural firm on plans to house the rules in Lawrence, perhaps in an addition to Allen Fieldhouse and the existing Booth Family Hall of Athletics. The fieldhouse is a logical choice for the display, but before this project moves forward, KU athletics officials should involve local tourist officials in discussions about exactly what their goals are for displaying the rules.

Any plan, of course, must gain the full approval of David Booth, the KU alumnus who paid $4.3 million for the two typewritten pages at auction last December. As Booth said after the purchase, the rules are “serious stuff” that must be displayed in a highly secure setting. The question, however, is whether the main goal of a rules display should be simply to preserve and protect the document or whether it might be used as a centerpiece for a broader attraction based on Lawrence’s important ties to the history of basketball.

Although Dr. James Naismith invented the game of basketball in 1891 in Springfield, Mass., he brought that game to KU in 1898 and lived here until his death in 1939. He coached at KU until he turned the reins over to Forrest C. “Phog” Allen in 1908. Naismith, who is known as the “father of basketball,” reportedly dubbed Allen, KU’s winningest coach of all time, as the “father of basketball coaching.” Both men are buried in Lawrence.

Across the last 113 years, KU’s basketball coaches, players and fans have provided a notable legacy. Any fan of basketball, and especially college basketball, would be a potential visitor to an exhibit that showcased that history — especially if that exhibit was anchored by the original basketball rules complete with Naismith’s handwritten notes. Working together, it seems KU and Lawrence officials could create a basketball-based attraction that would be a major tourist draw for the city, something that would put Lawrence on the map for basketball enthusiasts.

Maybe Allen Fieldhouse is the best place for such a display, but perhaps other locations that provide easier access and parking should be considered. Booth indicated last week that keeping costs for the exhibit at a reasonable level was a priority. It’s good to be frugal, but that shouldn’t keep university and city officials from thinking bigger about how to capitalize on the basketball rules to create a broader tourist attraction.

Next to its connections to Bleeding Kansas, Lawrence’s most unique and marketable story for tourism may be its basketball history. David Booth’s willingness to display the Naismith rules in Lawrence presents an important opportunity that shouldn’t be missed.


onlylookin2score 9 years, 11 months ago

No. Where these belong is in Allen Field House. Wouldn't Mr. Naismith Agree?

Besides where is there going to be a safer place than a place surrounded by 16000+ KU Artifact "bodygaurds"... nobody would mess with it there, it'd practically be a suicide mission.

Seriously, would people really come from far away to look at a couple of pieces of paper by themselves... of course not.

Will people come from afar to see the rules, plus all of the rich historical presentations that AFH now has to get to see the court.... of course they would.

Debbie Mangen 9 years, 11 months ago

In answer to your question, "Will people come from afar to see the rules", yes they will and they have. We drove to KC from southwest Kansas to see them.

onlylookin2score 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't know that I have the credentials to be a Staff Writer for LJW... but I do know what not to write..Bad Ideas. You could hire me as an outside consultant, I wouldn't even have to come into the office, I could do this job from home... Like Jack from Fight Club....

Have a nice Day.

waywardJay 9 years, 11 months ago

I am Keegan's imflammed Bile Duct. I am Keegan's enraged Thyroid.

Anything that would move the focus off a Basketball related visit away from the Fieldhouse in Lawrence is an fool's dream. It would be like ignoring the Quin Snyder wing of the Mizzou Arena ( actually had to look what they call that sewer up ). Or let's not forget how Luxurious the Bathrooms are at Oklahoma State's basketball complex.

Bringing the Rules to somewhere other than Allen Fieldhouse, would be like displaying the Bill of Rights at the W. Bush Library..... Or the Declaration of independence on Wall Street.

I concur, bad form LJW Staff writers.... ye who propose ideas so preposterous you do not want your name behind them.

onlylookin2score 9 years, 11 months ago

+1 For the Fight Club Continuation +1 For calling "anonymous" out. - 1 For Making me think of Quin Snyders face.

waywardJay 9 years, 11 months ago

I know it's a painful memory, but think of how it must feel to them LOL

Jeeveshawk 9 years, 11 months ago

I'm glad that Kansas has a chance to reel in more tourism. Theese rules have a "heavy tourism stock" if you will for it attracts many big time basketball fans (and either bball or football is the most popular sport in the US).

Kansas currently earns the 50'th most money out of all the states for tourism and hopefully this could put us ahead of Nebraska and/or Oklahoma.

100 9 years, 11 months ago

  1. Naismith wanted the basketball Hall of Fame in Lawrence (Springfield was his second choice).

  2. Naismith invented basketball.

  3. Naismith brought this University it's first team & was its first coach.

  4. Allen Fieldhouse was originally intended to be named after Naismith (the first money gathered for this project was given in an understanding that it would be named for our inventor, the man who brought us basketball as well as litterally bringing in the recruiting grand slam of the century, Phog Allen, as well as bringing a generally a tremendous amount of good deeds & citizenship to Lawrence in his 41 living years here).

  5. All this said, there is no place these rules belong more than Allen Fieldhouse, regardless of the tourist issue. The revenue brought to Lawrence will be much more in the long run anyway, if we have the ESPN cameras constantly focused on the rules, chattering about basketball's origins & what Naismith brought here.

  6. Lastly lets look at a typical tourist: As a tourist truly interested in basketball, how more enthralling can the rules experience be than to be in the legendary fieldhouse of the basketball program that Naismith himself started? It's like bookending a priceless ($10 billion for Jordan) "space/time/basketball-universe event" everytime the ball is tipped... The first people to have those rules tacked on the wall were the first 18 to play with Naismith in Springfield Dec 21st 1891... Those same rules from the same tree sat in Naismith's various Lawrence houses for over 41 years (considering the documents were found long after his death). Well, every tipoff at Allen Fieldhouse, from this day forth (of the rules being hung) would thus ."encapsulate & bookend" every single other basketball game ever played in the world, from gravel courts to hard wood kitchen floors, in a neat massive metaphorical bookshelf.

There is only one place these rules should be hung: Naismith/Allen Fieldhouse/Basketball Hall of Fame, Naismith Drive, Lawrence, Kansas.

Rock Chalk, Jayhawk Nation

actorman 9 years, 11 months ago

I believe the case is closed. 100 has made the definitive closing argument. No point in anyone even attempting to say anything else about it.

KUJayhawk70 9 years, 11 months ago

Thanks for the discussion. Even though I have no idea who may ever read this post, nevertheless I'd like to toss out an idea for consideration. (Anyone who finds merit in it and has any connection to the decision makers, feel free to pass it along.)

When I think of a suitable design for the housing of the rules, what better design than a peach basket? Whether a new wing in the Hall of Athletics, or a free standing building, my suggestion is something in the form of a peach basket.

Thanks for listening. Rock Chalk, Jayhawk!

5DecadeHawk 9 years, 11 months ago

This is typical LJW hogwash.

This "editorial" was written as if KU Athletics doesn't already have strong connections to the local community. Nothing could be more false.

This intentional misrepresentation of the facts is yet another example of the LJW trying to create controversy where none exists. Local businesses are excited to have one more attraction in Lawrence to bring in tourists.

While the LJW editorial staff represents the malcontents of Lawrence that see the University, and KU Athletics in particular as the enemy, their opinions do not reflect the vast majority of Lawrence residents, and not the vast majority of Lawrence business owners.

The fact remains that the BEST way for local business owners to express their interests with KU Athletics is to become a KU Corporate partner. Sadly, a minority of local businesses want to ride the gravy train of tourists that KU Athletics brings into town and fill their bank accounts without offering even the slightest bit assistance to help KU in a mutually benefitial relationship.

It's cheaper to whine and complain and get the Mizery loving LJW staff to try to create a stink where one does not exist.

The crybabies need to grow up and work WITH KU and not constantly be leeches dragging everyone else down.

KU does, and should seek input from its local corporate partners before anyone else. It's what they have always done. It's the right thing to do and the best for both KU and Lawrence.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

"The Naismith International Basketball Tournament"

Rules in the field house. Period.

But I am partial to developing basketball tourism in Lawrence.

I would frankly love to see an international basketball tourism complex developed south of the field house that included Oliver and Naismith Halls in a retrofitting process. They each become hotel towers.

But as usual, people are thinking waaaaaaaay too small.

The reason for building this huge complex I am talking about is to create a facility to house and showcase the Naismith International Basketball Tournament!

It is a global game.

It needs a global tournament.

It needs it now.

It can't wait for the NBA to figure out how to grow its oligopoly world wide.

Teams from all over the world need a single elimination tournament now.

It can have its own TV/media network online instantly.

It is an open tournament.

Any team that wants to register and come to compete may do so. Pro, or amateur. From high school to the pros.

It is like the Indiana high school basketball tournament, only global.

It is held once a year.

Teams from all over the world flock to Lawrence, Kansas, where it all began.

Lawrence becomes the basketball Athens of the 21st Century.

This tournament becomes the greatest, most watched, sporting event in the world history within ten years.

And it all happens in Lawrence.

It is staged after the NBA championship.

If you build it, they will come.

jaybate 9 years, 11 months ago

Post Script: The winner is the designated "The True World Champion of Basketball."

milehighhawk 9 years, 11 months ago

The rules belong in the Fieldhouse.

As far as "other" places go, there's a reason none were mentioned. It's a straw man argument at best, and a weak one at that.

"Hey, let's go look at the basketball rules - they're in the old Moon Bar..."

odc213 9 years, 11 months ago

The RULES need to be showcased where guests can see it regularly at first, and not just with a ticket for a KU game, so not in Allen right away. I don't think there will be alot of tourists to show up to Allen's Lobby to see it. THEREFORE> It needs to be at the "College Basketball Experience" in KC at the Sprint Center as an exhibit. OR the NELSON or Union Station KC. Permanent placement is of course in Allen eventually.

Tony Bandle 9 years, 11 months ago

Oh for God's Sakes!!! Keep the friggin' bureaucrats out of this process!! The location of Allen Field house makes perfect sense...and don't give me parking problems and campus disruption as excuses.

1] There's plenty of parking for basketball games...did anyone notice the parking garage with direct access to The Fieldhouse?

2] Any tourist traffic will be well clear of a lot of student traffic on campus...and if it isn't, so what. It's a friggin' college campus filled with Jayhawks. I can't imagine a more inspiring site!!

3] If the consultants can't figure out a way to get the public in and out of an extension, let me help. Put a pair of doors in the exterior wall. Build a sidewalk to that pair of doors. Make sure someone unlocks it in the morining, is there all day, and locks it at night.

4] Please name for me one site that is even remotely appropriate besides Allen. Naismith's Grave? The Campanile? Potter's Lake? The Chi Omega Fountain? Arrowhead Stadium?- it is apparently good enough for the biggest game of the year between two legendary schools!!!

Puleeeze, just shoot me somebody!!!!!!!

Uwe_Blab 9 years, 11 months ago

So, Oakville, is it safe to say you are not the architect that the University is working with to locate the original rules of the game?

Dirk Medema 9 years, 11 months ago

Spencer is a Museum of Art. AFH is a Museum of BB.

David Robinett 9 years, 11 months ago

Is it too crass or creepy to suggest digging up the two Docs and relocating them to Allen Fieldhouse? ( similar to famous final resting places in Westminster Abbey in London).

The time I visited Naismith's gravesite in Lawrence, it was hard to find and nothing special. Seems to deserve at least a bigger tombstone...

waywardJay 9 years, 11 months ago

It is kinda morbid but I love the idea.... You would probably need family consent, but knowing the history... I'm sure they would be up for it......

My only recommendation is they be in the Visitor's dressing room floor..... In case pf huanting best to haunt that area....

Gary Wirsig 9 years, 11 months ago

I don't know about crass or creepy, but I got a belly laugh as I read your suggestion. No offense intended...

Sam Constance 9 years, 11 months ago

As has already been said ad nauseum on this particular forum, this editorial is misguided. The fundamental flaw in the piece is that it presumes that the following goals are mutually exclusive:

1) House the rules in a wing of AFH

2) Use the rules to foster additional tourism in Lawrence.

Maybe it's just me, but I coulda sworn that AFH is IN Lawrence. Like, right smack-dab in the middle of the town, in fact. So forgive me if I fail to understand how housing the rules in AFH, along with an established museum of basketball history DOESN'T promote new tourism opportunities in the town.

I think 100 said it most succinctly:

"As a tourist truly interested in basketball, how more enthralling can the rules experience be than to be in the legendary fieldhouse of the basketball program that Naismith himself started?"

If I'm a basketball enthusiast tourist, even I might be a bit perplexed as to why I had to go to a separate, off-site place to see 2 pieces of paper (albeit 2 important pieces of paper) when there is already a fitting and equally-important location to house the rules. It just doesn't make sense.

It would be like having a WW2 museum in a city, then housing the treaty agreement that ended the war in a completely separate place within the same city, under the guise of promoting tourism.

Commenting has been disabled for this item.