Do you know hoops prophet H V Porter? Poetic pioneer who coined March Madness - Hindustan Times
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Do you know hoops prophet H V Porter? Poetic pioneer who coined March Madness

ByPaurush Omar
Mar 24, 2023 08:30 PM IST

Here's all you need to know about the Illinois man who ignited a national fever for basketball

Every spring, basketball enthusiasts across America come down with a fever that they can't shake - March Madness. This phenomenon is characterized by spontaneous outbreaks of basketball jargon, tears over busted brackets, and even taking sick days to watch the games. But where did this madness come from? The answer lies with a man named Henry "H.V." Porter.

Basketball pioneer H V Porter, who coined the term March Madness
Basketball pioneer H V Porter, who coined the term March Madness

Porter was an Illinois high school sports administrator and basketball enthusiast who first diagnosed the fever in 1939. His love for the game was apparent in his writing, where he described the exuberant high school basketball fans during the statewide tournament in March of that year. It was in this essay for "Illinois High School Athlete" magazine that he coined the phrase "March Madness" - the first-known use of a term that would become synonymous with the NCAA men's basketball tournament.

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Decades later, the NCAA adopted and trademarked the phrase, but it was Porter who had the vision and passion to capture the sports spirit of small-town America in the Great Depression. "He was a visionary. He was ahead of his time," said Bruce Firchau, chairman of The Basketball Museum of Illinois.

Porter's contributions to basketball went beyond coining a catchy phrase. He worked to standardize the game across the nation, publishing the first high school rulebook in 1936 and serving as the first representative for high schools on the National Basketball Rules Committee. He also helped to produce molded leather basketballs, making the game easier to play.

Thanks to Porter's passion for basketball and his contributions to the game, March Madness has become a beloved part of American sports culture. It's a time when fans from all over the country come together to watch the games, cheer on their favorite teams, and experience the excitement that only basketball can bring.

Also read | March Madness 2023: Top seeds, underdogs, potential upsets revealed

So, while there may be no known cure for March Madness, we can all thank Henry "H.V." Porter for giving us a reason to catch the fever each spring.

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