KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Don't say the College Basketball Experience didn't warn you.
From across Grand Boulevard in Kansas City, a giant banner in front of the CBE makes it loud and clear: wear your basketball shoes when you step into this place.
"WARNING," the banner reads. "This is NOT a museum. YOU MAY SWEAT."
It's not a lie. Once you exit the elevator and go down a tunnel leading to the main floor of the facility, you notice something: Between basketballs bouncing, rims clanking, kids yelling and buzzers buzzing, the CBE mimics the atmosphere of a college basketball game more than you could imagine.
The College Basketball Experience and National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame opened in October of 2007 in downtown Kansas City, a town rich in college basketball history. The National Association of Basketball Coaches brainstormed the idea of a college basketball hall of fame, and it eventually evolved into the interactive entertainment facility that now stands.
The 41,500-square foot venue is connected to Kansas City's new Sprint Center, a 19,000-seat arena which opened around the same time and has been home to several college basketball events--NCAA Tournament games, the Big 12 Conference tournament, the annual CBE Classic, and regular season games featuring Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri.
The Sprint Center's construction gave the CBE a perfect place to call home. Before that, the NABC considered setting up shop down the street at the aging Municipal Auditorium, which has hosted more Final Fours than any venue in history.
Take a Tour
Check out iHoops' photo slideshow from the College Basketball Experience in Kansas City, Mo.
Part of the CBE's lower level pays homage to college basketball's all-time greats with the Gallery of Honor, the Mentor's Circle and the Epochs of the Game, as well as a theater that shows short films throughout the day. It's a perfect place to unwind.
Of course, a majority of the venue is perfect for getting wound up. The upper level includes a full-length basketball court for pickup games or shooting around, as well as smaller areas where you can work on your free-throw shooting, situational shooting, three-pointers, buzzer-beaters or even dunking on rims ranging from 7-10 feet.
The lower level of the CBE focuses on the less-glamorous aspects of basketball that are just as crucial. There is an area to work on your passing, a complex zone to polish your offensive rebounding skills and even a kids court set up for children ages 2-9.
If you're out of breath, go to the Half-Time Lounge and grab a drink and play the latest college basketball video games. Or, sit on the ESPNU set and try your best to anchor highlights of a legendary college basketball moment--like when Duke's Christian Laettner's beat Kentucky in 1992 on a buzzer-beater.
When you've finally had enough, call it a day, exit outside to Grand Boulevard, and glance up at the giant banner one last time. That sign was right, of course--you did sweat, and you had a ton of fun doing it.