Legislation introduced by Congressman Andy Barr (R-KY) and Congressman Richard Neal (D-MA), the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act, was signed into law by the President on December 21, 2018. This legislation, which passed the House of Representatives on September 25, 2017, and passed the Senate on December 18, 2018, will honor the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame with a commemorative coin in 2020.
“As a sixth generation Lexingtonian, University of Kentucky alumnus, and Representative to the home of the greatest tradition in college basketball, I was proud to introduce this legislation to honor America’s greatest sport,” said Congressman Barr. “This commemorative coin is an ideal way to further educate and preserve the history of these athletes and coaches. It was a privilege to work with the Hall of Fame, members of the Hall of Fame, Leader McConnell, and my colleague, Congressman Neal, to build support for this commemorative coin.”
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said, “I enjoyed working with Congressman Barr, Coach Calipari, and Jim Host to recognize one of America’s favorite pastimes. As everyone in the Commonwealth knows, Kentucky is the college basketball capital of the world, and I was happy to do my part to help pass this measure.”
Jim Host, lifetime Trustee of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, said, “No other state has had a greater impact on the game of basketball than Kentucky, which is evident from the number of Hall of Fame members hailing from the Commonwealth. This commemorative coin will preserve the birthplace, historical significance, and sportsmanship of this true American sport. In his position as the Chairman of the subcommittee with jurisdiction over U.S. coinage, Congressman Barr was fundamental to securing the support needed to pass this bill, and I applaud his leadership and hard work.”
University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball Coach John Calipari said, “The passage of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Commemorative Coin Act was a big win for the Naismith Hall of Fame and for the sport of basketball. Not only will this coin honor our great sport, the revenue generated from this act will support the Hall of Fame and everything it does for both basketball and our community. Both parties of the aisle played a part in getting this passed, especially our Representative, Andy Barr. Congressman Barr understood the importance of this to our sport and helped steered this through. I’m thankful for his efforts.”
As the Chairman of the House Financial Services Subcommittee on Monetary Policy and Trade, which has jurisdiction over coinage and the U.S. Mint, Congressman Barr introduced this legislation with his colleague Congressman Neal, who represents Springfield, Massachusetts, home to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
In his capacity as Chairman, Congressman Barr was approached by Jim Host to introduce the legislation and later Coach John Calipari.