The Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award is the most prestigious award presented by the Naismith International Basketball Foundation (NIBF). The award honors individuals and institutions involved in basketball for their displays of tremendous sportsmanship on and off the court, their positive contributions to the game and lifelong dedication to the sport. Recipients are selected by a nine member ad hoc committee in recognition of significant and lasting contributions to the sport and the spirit of basketball. In addition, honorees are selected for their role in furthering the values of fun, respect and teamwork that Dr. James Naismith wrote into the 13 original rules of the game. The award is presented only when merited and not on a regular schedule.
The Foundation itself was established by the founding family of basketball to promote sportsmanship.
Ian Naismith (first name pronounced: yon), grandson of Dr. James Naismith, inventor of the game of basketball in 1891, is the founder and director of the NIBF. Naismith is scheduled to present the award to King prior to tipoff of the noon ET Tennessee men's basketball game vs. Vanderbilt at Thompson-Boling Arena on Jan. 15. The game is being televised by ESPN, and ESPN College GameDay will originate from Thompson-Boling Arena that day beginning at 10 a.m. ET.
"I first met Hallie King at the McDonald's All-American High School Basketball games in 2008," Ian Naismith said. "What I observed was a 17-year-old young lady providing a courtside clinic on basketball statistics to some of the icons of the game who were attending as VIPs. I came to learn that Hallie has an unparalleled passion for the game of basketball.
"Her spirit and dedication exemplify the code of sportsmanship that my grandfather wrote into the original 13 rules of the sport. Hallie King represents all that's good about the essence of the game of basketball. For these reasons, the Naismith International Basketball Foundation has chosen to honor Hallie as the youngest recipient of the Naismith Good Sportsmanship Award."
"Hallie is an asset to my staff, an innovator as it relates to basketball statistics and a wonderful young lady," Tennessee head coach Bruce Pearl said. "The Naismith Award is one of the top honors in all of sports, and the list of winners is a who's who of the game of basketball. I'm proud to have Hallie associated with our program here at Tennessee, and to have another member of the Tennessee basketball family added to that distinguished list is outstanding."
King, 20, will be the youngest recipient of the award and only the fourth female to be honored. NBA All-Star Steve Nash was the previous youngest honoree at age 32. Tennessee women's basketball coach Pat Summitt, Dorothy Gaters and Lynette Woodard are the prior female honorees.
Other notables to receive the award include John Wooden, Michael Jordan, Oscar Robertson, Jerry West, and Red Auerbach. Organizations that have received the honor include the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in Knoxville, Tenn., the YMCA and the Harlem Globetrotters.
King is a consultant to CyberSports Inc., a Redmond, Wash., based software development company for sports statistics. At Arrowhead High School (Hartland, Wis.) King earned multiple varsity letters as statistician for the boys' basketball and volleyball teams. Arrowhead, ranked by Sports Illustrated as Wisconsin's top high school athletic program, honored King on multiple occasions. She received the Warhawk Award in 2008 from the boys' volleyball team as the individual who contributed the most to the team, for having the most team spirit and the hardest worker on the squad. It marked the first time in the history of the program that the award was given to a non-player and female. She also was the first non-player and first female recipient in the history of Arrowhead High School to receive the Al Vandertie Memorial Basketball Scholarship.
Additionally, King served as official statistician for the Wisconsin Interscholastic Athletic Association Division 1 and 2 Sectional Boys' Basketball Tournament in 2009 at the Al McGuire Center and was the official statistician for the Wisconsin Basketball Coaches Association High School All-Star Games in 2007, 2008 and 2009 in Madison, Wis. The Harlem Globetrotters honored King by selecting her as their official statistician during their annual New Year's Eve game at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee in 2009.
Previous Naismith Good Sportsmanship Awards have been presented at venues such as the NCAA Final Four, the University of Tennessee (Pat Summitt and the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame), several NBA All-Star games, the NCAA Hall of Champions and other professional games.
Hallie is the daughter of Bill and Shelley King of Oconomowoc, Wis. Bill was the Director of Public Relations of the Milwaukee Bucks from 1977-99.
About the Foundation
The NIBF was founded in 1996 by the three grandchildren of Dr. James A. Naismith, who created the sport in 1891. The non-profit NIBF promotes sportsmanship, respect, dignity, fair play, teamwork and responsible conduct at all levels for the game of basketball. The NIBF seeks to awaken and reinvigorate the true spirit of the game that Dr. Naismith set forth in his original rules of the game. The Naismith Sportsmanship Award identifies men and women who are a credit to basketball and true role models for children and fans around the world. The original rules are a near 119-year-old document that Dr. Naismith hung on the bulletin board in the YMCA in Springfield, Mass., on Dec. 21, 1891. The document has belonged to the Naismith family since its conception until last Friday when Sotheby's auction house in New York City sold the document for $4,338,500. Proceeds support the charitable endeavors of the NIBF.
About the Award
The award itself is recognized as one of the most beautiful historic awards in sports. Standing two-and-a-half feet tall and weighing 70 pounds, the award features a specially commissioned three-dimensional diorama bronze/pewter sculpture of Dr. Naismith standing in a YMCA of the 1890s. The work is based on photographs of Dr. Naismith and the Springfield, Mass., YMCA facility where he invented basketball in the winter of 1891. World renowned artist Michael Roche created the sculpture. The award's massive base incorporates three plaques – two of which are inscribed with the full text of Dr. Naismith's game rules. A third, central plaque includes a quote from Dr. Naismith on sportsmanship and is inscribed to Hallie King, "in recognition of significant and lasting contributions to the sport, and the spirit, of basketball."