Daily News

Elks Hoop Shoot Finalists Compete for Spot in Hall of Fame

SPRINGFIELD — Michael Jordan. Bob Knight. Bailey Finn. What do these athletes have in common? They all have their names permanently inscribed in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame — Jordan as an NBA champion, Knight as a successful college coach, and Finn as a 2014 Elks Hoop Shoot champion.

This weekend, 72 national finalists are heading to Springfield to compete in the 2015 Elks Hoop Shoot National Finals. On Friday evening, they will attend a special welcome banquet on Center Court at the Hall of Fame and have the opportunity to tour the museum. By claiming a Hoop Shoot national title, the winner will have his or her name inscribed in the Hall among the legendary greats of the game.

The 43rd annual event will take place on Saturday, April 18 starting at 9:45 a.m. at Western New England University. The Hoop Shoot season began last fall with 8- to 13-year-olds from across the country vying to sink the most of 25 free throws at their Elks Lodge contests. After advancing through lodge, district, state, and regional contests, the 72 finalists arrived in Springfield this week, ready to toe the line for their final 25 shots. But the contest is about much more than those 25 shots.

“It teaches them several things, the first being hard work,” says Kim Finn, Bailey’s mother. “And it helps them in school where they have to be prepared and study. They know if they want to do well, they have to prepare for it.”

Through the Elks Hoop Shoot, the Elks National Foundation — the charitable arm of the Benevolent and Protective Order of the Elks — offers youth the opportunity to engage in healthy competition, connect with their families and community, and succeed both on and off the court. Visit www.elks.org/hoopshoot for details.