This is an excerpt from a column I wrote for Sporting Life Arkansas. You can read it in its entirety here.
It’s early March, which means Arkansas is nearing the end of basketball nostalgia season.
If you want to find a post on a message board or blog or news site, or hear a conversation on the radio about the great days in basketball history, you shouldn’t have to look far.
That’s not a bad thing. Arkansas has a rich basketball tradition and it deserves to be remembered and honored.
As someone who’s been a flag-bearer in the effort for UA to do a better job of promoting its history and tradition in athletics, I don’t have any problem with putting Richardson’s name on the basketball court or anything else basketball related. Putting his name on the court is just the beginning. I also think they should put some sort of marker at the top of Cleveland Hill to acknowledge the notoriously steep road Richardson famously used for training.
Additionally, there should be some sort of in-arena/in-stadium commemoration of the greatest basketball and football players who have come through Fayetteville. We don’t have to retire numbers since colleges get so many new players each year that actually retiring numbers could prove problematic fairly quickly, but some sort of acknowledgement would be an improvement.
At both Razorback Stadium and Bud Walton Arena, there are several commemorations of the past throughout the concourses, but not in places where television cameras can see them. It’s easy to see Bo Jackson next to the scoreboard at Auburn, Peyton Manning signs at Tennessee, or numerous jerseys in the rafters at Rupp Arena, and Arkansas is missing out by failing to give its past similarly permanent honors. It was great to honor Corliss Williamson at halftime at the Kentucky game, but it would be more worthwhile if A) he’d actually been there to receive the honor, and B) his name was somewhere among the rafters with all the championship banners so a television camera could get a shot of it.
It’s sad that there is more signage in Brooklyn linking Joe Johnson to Arkansas than there is in Arkansas.