KC BB History: John Wooden, More than Basketball

April 5, 2010. The Duke/Butler NCAA men's basketball championship game just ended. Neither team lost, but Duke won. Kansas Citians are proud to have hosted more NCAA basketball championships than any other city. KC is doubly proud to have been the site of the very 1st, and longest running national collegiate basketball tourney. It was organized by the National Association of Intercollegiate Basketball (NAIB). The NAIB later became the NAIA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics. That tournament was started in 1937 and was founded by:
Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball,
Emil Liston, the A.D. of Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas, and
Frank Cramer, the founder of Cramer Chemical (an athletic supply company) in Gardner, Ks.

The great John Wooden won the first of his 10 NCAA basketball championships in K.C.'s Municipal Auditorium in 1964. However, it was his 1947 stance that made him a champion of human rights, not just of basketball.

When his 1947 Indiana State team qualified for the NAIA tournament he turned down the invitation because one of his players, Clarence Walker an African-American, would not have been allowed to play.

The following year The Sycamores qualified again. By then, the NAIA had changed its rules and allowed black players to compete. Clarence Walker became the first African-American to play in the NAIA Men's Basketball Championship.

John Wooden--Champion.