By Bob Katzen
Rep. Angelo Puppolo (D-Springfield) and other Springfield officials have begun a campaign lobbying National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) President and former Bay State Gov. Charlie Baker to return the annual Tip-Off Classic game to Springfield, the home of the Basketball Hall of Fame. The city hosted the games for some 26 years at the former Springfield Civic Center from 1979 to 2005.
“Basketball has been a part of the city since it was invented by Springfield College instructor and graduate student James Naismith in 1891 and has grown to a worldwide fan favorite through the years,” Rep. Puppolo wrote in a letter to Baker. “On the heels of a very successful Final Four Tournament, and given your commitment and dedication to Springfield and western Massachusetts as governor of the commonwealth, I am respectfully requesting that you now return the NCAA Tip-Off Classic to the City of Springfield, the city where basketball was born.”