TOPEKA — Gov. Sam Brownback on Thursday declared Kansas the “Cradle of Basketball” in issuing a proclamation praising the three teams from the state playing in the NCAA men’s tournament.
Brownback signed the proclamation a day before Kansas, Kansas State and Wichita State all were to play their opening games in St. Louis. The document designates Friday as “Cradle of Basketball” Day.
The governor planned to travel to St. Louis to cheer for the state’s teams. He wore pins for each of the three on the lapel of his jacket.
“I think most of the state of Kansas is going to be watching,” Brownback said before signing the proclamation at the Statehouse.
Many Kansas residents like to think of basketball as being perfected in their state.
James Naismith invented the game in Springfield, Mass., in 1891, but arrived at the University of Kansas in 1898 to teach physical education and serve as the university’s first basketball coach.
“This is really taking advantage of the situation we have and really pointing out that this is the place where the sport grew up,” Brownback said after issuing the proclamation.