The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the National Wheelchair Basketball Association
The relationship between the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and the NWBA was first conceived in 1978 with a series of letters between then NWBA Commissioner Stan Labanowich and Mr. Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame / Naismith Memorial, which was located in Springfield MA. Assisting the NWBA was Mr. Julian U. Stein, Executive Director of the Physical Education and Recreation for the Handicapped in Washington D.C.
The NWBA Hall of Fame was established in 1973 on the 25th Anniversary of the NWBA. Although members were inducted every year at the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament Awards Banquet, the Hall had no permanent residence to display our awards, memorabilia of our Inducted Members. After a year of negotiations, the new Executive Director of the Basketball Hall of Fame, Joseph M. O'Brien notified the NWBA that the Naismith Facility would indeed accept the NWBA for membership. This approval and responsibility was coordinated through Stan Labanowich and NWBA HOF Chairman, Saul Welger.
The display would feature a plaque with the names of all 'Inducted Members' as well as a viewing area that contained team pictures, the History of the game and the NWBA as well as several donated medals from Paralympic Competitions. The NWBA was responsible for the cost of the plaque and thanks to the generosity of Quickie Design Wheelchairs and Wayne Kunishige, we were on the way to having a real home for our Hall of Fame.
Thanks to the efforts of Saul Welger and other NWBA Officials our display was formally dedicated on October 19, 1990. Members traveled from all county to attend this gala event in Springfield, which in addition to the dedication included a weekend at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame and a formal dinner at a neighboring hotel.