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Not just ‘March Madness,’ but all-year basketball bonkers in Kansas City
By Tom Adkinson
March 25, 2022

kansas city basketball
Kansas City’s College Basketball Experience gives you fair warning not to expect a staid museum inside. Image by Tom Adkinson

KANSAS CITY, Missouri – March may be the month for basketball madness (the NCAA has even protected the term “March Madness” for its three-week tournaments), but people go basketball bonkers all year long in Kansas City.

The reason is an attraction called the College Basketball Experience. It is part hall of fame and many parts fun and games. Its focus is on the men’s college game, and it is considered a complement to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts.

“The College Basketball Experience is a hall of fame that is very different. It’s a dynamic place. When you are here, you are absolutely going to pick up a basketball,” said Celeste Lupercio, the attraction’s senior director of sales, marketing and events.

basketball jump
Center Court is the scene of plenty of action with a full-size basketball court, six goals, a scoreboard and shot clocks. Image by College Basketball Experience

ncaa broadcasters
Two would-be broadcasters get intense as they call the final minutes of an NCAA game. Image by Tom Adkinson

The hall of fame sets the stage and gets you in the mood for a little hoops action. The Gallery of Honor puts the spotlight on the greatest of the great players, coaches and contributors to the game. Broadcasters Billy Packer and Dick Vitale are in that last category.

The founding class of inductees in 2006 numbered approximately 180. Among them were Bill Russell, Oscar Robinson, Dean Smith, John Wooden and the family of James Naismith, originator of the game in the early 1890s.

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Hall of Fame member Magic Johnson absorbs some of the voluminous information at the College Basketball Experience. Image by College Basketball Experience

Lupercio is right on the money when she says “experience” is the key word here. The attraction describes itself as “41,500 square feet of basketball exuberance.”

An area called Center Court is a full basketball court with six goals, a scoreboard and, yes, shot clocks. The College Basketball Experience is popular for group activities, but you can have a great time as an individual visitor. You can practice your skills, shoot baskets or even get into a pick-up game.

There are multiple ways for you to get into the action, relive some moments from your own athletic career or try your hand in the broadcast booth.

Even if you’ve never played in a tight game, you still feel the pressure of competition at “Beat the Clock.” The ball is in your hands, the clock is ticking down and you’re on the spot to make a game-winning shot before the buzzer sounds.

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Even if a game isn’t on the line, this visitor is intent on hitting his next shot. Image by College Basketball Experience

Another test of concentration is “Step to the Line,” where your challenge is the make as many consecutive free throws as you can in a set amount of time.

If you feel particularly agile, you will gravitate to “Slam Dunk,” where you can impress your fans. It’s easier than you may think because there are five dunking courts with baskets at different heights, starting at 7 feet.

A different skill is required at another attraction. It’s an ESPNU broadcast desk, where you channel your inner sportscaster to call highlights of an actual NCAA basketball game.

Calling a game is far more difficult than it sounds, but it can be riotously funny – for you and your audience.

Trip Planning Resources: and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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