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The Carolina Basketball Museum is not just about the more than 450 artifacts in the display cases, such as the shoes, uniforms, rings and balls used by players over the decades.
It’s also about the come-from-behind victories, the final moments of the championship games and the joint-is-jumping excitement of just about any game day.
“It’s one thing to go to a museum and see things,” said Steve Kirschner, UNC associate athletics director for communications. “When you come to this museum, you feel the emotion that is Carolina basketball.”
Videos and audio displays play such classic moments as the 8 points scored in 17 seconds that sealed Duke’s fate in 1974. Fans also can catch some flashes of brilliance from the undefeated 1957 team and watch No. 23 start earning the moniker “Air Jordan.”
Of course, there is a lot to see, as the first 263 fans who visited on opening day Jan. 28 found out. The 8,000-square-foot, $3.4 million museum on the first floor of the Ernie Williamson Athletics Center, down the block from the Smith Center, houses items such as snippets of nets from Final Four championships, coaches’ playbooks and players’ commitment letters. Eighty-four players and coaches so far have signed the oversized UNC logo affixed to one wall. A section of the center court from the 2005 national championship in St. Louis is attached to another.
“It’s the largest collection of Carolina basketball memorabilia there is,” Kirschner says.
The museum is free; metered parking is available in the lot across Skipper Bowles Drive. It is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and, as of July 2008, also is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. (It is closed on University holidays.) Museum hours on home football Saturdays and home basketball games will be announced later and posted on TarHeelBlue.com.
The museum has attracted nearly 25,000 visitors since it opened in January.