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Author Explores History of Indiana Basketball in Latest Book from IHS Press

December 7, 2023

The latest book from the Indiana Historical Society (IHS) Press, “Legacy and Legend: The History and Mythology of Basketball in Indiana,” examines the history of basketball in the Hoosier State — from the beginning of high school contests in the 1900s, to the golden age in the 1950s and 1960s, all the way to the end of the one-class system.

In the book, author J. Ronald Newlin explores the rise of college basketball to the heady days of March Madness; the early days of professional barnstorming; how the pro game won the hearts and minds of Hoosiers with the success of the Reggie Miller-led Indiana Pacers; and how women fought to earn their own place in Indiana’s beloved game.

“Legacy and Legend” highlights such themes as basketball’s origins in Indiana, coinciding with the rise of spectator sports as a leisure-time activity in an industrializing America; how the egalitarian rules of the game (small team size, all players perform all roles) appeal to the state’s self-image of self-sufficient pioneers; how Indiana developed a national reputation as a basketball hotbed based on such measurable realities as the size of its gyms, ticket sales and the records of such figures as John Wooden, Oscar Robertson, Bob Knight and Larry Bird on a national stage; and how the national media and cultural trends from the past three decades (cable television, the movie Hoosiers, and the rise of the internet) have made Indiana’s love affair with basketball a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Legacy and Legend: The History and Mythology of Basketball in Indiana” is available through IHS’s Basile History Market and other places books are sold. For more information about the book or the IHS Press, call (317) 232-1882 or visit

About the Author

Ronald Newlin, from Sullivan, Huntingburg, Westport, Akron, Muncie, Bloomington, New Castle and Indianapolis, Ind., was the first executive director of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, serving from 1987 to 1995. He has degrees in U.S. history from Ball State University and Indiana University, Bloomington. Newlin spent his career as a museum professional and nonprofit management consultant in Indiana, working for the Indiana State Museum and the ISM Foundation as well as the Indiana State Library and Indiana Historical Society.


Title:                            Legacy and Legend: The History and Mythology of Basketball in Indiana

Publisher:                    Indiana Historical Society Press

Pages:                         194

Size:                            6 x 9

Cover:                         Paperback

Publication Date:        December 2023

Cost:                            $24.95

Print ISBN:                  978-0-87195-478-7

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