Standing in the Hall of Fame

Since 1959, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has honored and celebrated the game’s greatest moments and brightest stars. Located in Springfield, Massachusetts—the birthplace of basketball—being inducted into the Hall of Fame has been the highest honor for anyone who has played, coached or refereed the game of basketball.

Over the last century, countless athletes have reached for the same goal; however, just over 300 people have joined the best of the best and earned the title of Hall of Famer.

Inside the Hall of Fame, you’ll find all kinds of pieces of basketball history; jerseys, shoes, equipment, and trophies all of which once belonged to basketball legends. But there is another important part of basketball history in the Hall of Fame—the Elks Hoop Shoot. On the Hoop Shoot plaque—a permanent installment—is inscribed the name of every Frank Hise National Champion since the program was founded in 1972. This is the crowning achievement for every 8-13 year old across the country who is willing to step up to the line and compete in the Elks Hoop Shoot.

Thanks to the Elks National Foundation, the 2017 Hoop Shoot National Champions each have the opportunity to go on an all-expense paid trip to the basketball capital of the world, to see their names under the same roof as Michael Jordan, Larry Bird, and Lisa Leslie. New England’s own 10-11-year-old Champion Jacobi Lafferty could hardly wait!

Jacobi and his parents visited the Hall of Fame in August. They toured the museum, saw his name scroll on the marquee, and of course, Jacobi found his way onto center court to squeeze in a couple of shots. (You don’t get into the Hall of Fame by taking days off.) Jacobi even got to meet a Hall of Famer. Tracy McGrady, a member of the class of 2017 Enshrinement, was there to sign autographs that weekend.

A New Yorker, 12-13-year-old Champion Sophie Phillips has visited twice since being crowned the female Getty Powell Award Winner for top overall girls score. Once to take in the sites with her family, and then again with male Getty Powell Award Winner Donavan Seamster, from Louisiana, for the 2017 Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony.

Sophie and Donavan scored courtside seats to the induction of Tracy McGrady, Rebecca Lobo, Coach Bill Self, and more. They walked the red carpet, attended a VIP gala, and were there when the new Hall of Famers gave their enshrinement speeches. They saw and met basketball stars from the past and present, and they represent the future of the game—all the 2017 Hoop Shoot National Champions do.

Being in the Hall of Fame is not given to you. You have to work hard. You have to earn it. The six Hoop Shoot National Champions all put in the time and effort that was needed to succeed. They all had the grittiness to never give up, and to work towards their goals. While for some the Hall of Fame is the crowning achievement for a long and storied career, for the Hoop Shoot National Champions, being in the Hall of Fame is just the beginning.

Stay Tuned! 8-9-year-old Champion Colton Conkle will soon make his trip to Springfield! See pictures by following the Elks National Foundation on social media.

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