The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Tuesday January 18th

UNC Basketball Museum Opens For Devout Fans

By Ben Gatling

Staff Writer

Though not as loud or hot as the original "Blue Heaven," Carmichael Auditorium, true Tar Heel basketball fans can still reminisce of days gone by at Chapel Hill's latest tourist attraction.

Blue Heaven, a historical museum of Carolina basketball, opened Friday amid a sea of sky-blue and fading basketball memorabilia.

Museum owner and former UNC basketball manager David Daly said he opened the museum so fans could fully experience Carolina basketball, which has been a part of his life for the last 25 years.

"(Blue Heaven) is especially for the Carolina community," said Daly, who was a manager from 1978 to 1982. "But it's also for players and just plain basketball fans."

Blue Heaven, located on 1840 Airport Road near Harris Teeter, includes many rare and unique items not seen by many of the Tar Heel faithful.

Between the basketball nets, shoes, practice jerseys and other normal basketball paraphernalia, the museum also features other points of interest.

Such rarities include Sam Perkins' cowboy boots, a telegram from the Duke basketball team wishing Carolina luck in an NCAA tournament and a scorebook from 1924, the year the Tar Heels won their first national title.

Daly also said the exhibits were all either donated by former players, their families and staff or taken from his own personal collection. He said the exhibits will continue to expand as he collects more items. "We are going to continue to ask players for more things for the collection," he said.

Daly said former players have expressed a great interest in sharing items from their careers with the Carolina basketball community.

"We had one guy from the 1946 team call the other day and ask if we wanted the film from the 1946 championship," Daly said. "It was just laying around in his attic."

Despite the many diverse and odd items, however, visitors to the museum this weekend were like the Heel's losses while playing at the original Blue Heaven - few and far between.

Daly said he hopes more patrons will visit as fans spread the word about the collection. Daly also said the opening was not advertised but, during basketball season, many more basketball fans will visit the museum.

"We've had a steady stream come in today. But as time goes by, with fans telling their friends, I think the museum will become very popular."

The City Editor can be reached

at citydesk@unc.edu.


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