UNIVERSITY CITY - It’s one of those events that only happens in Philadelphia, as the University of Pennsylvania brings back some nostalgia Wednesday night to what has been described as the most important building in the history of college basketball.
An old-fashioned Big 5 doubleheader, with Temple taking on LaSalle and Penn hosting St. Joe’s.
When it comes to Philly sports venues, nothing comes close to the Palestra.
"I think it’s just the feel of it. The atmosphere. It’s a basketball atmosphere," Dave O’Connell said.
"The doubleheaders were sacred," Bill Michuda stated.
Michuda has not only seen games at the Palestra, he’s played in them, as a member of LaSalle’s number two ranked team in 1969. He calls it a privilege to play here. "It’s the kind of place where you want to stay overnight and sleep on the floor. That’s how cool it is, because there’s no distractions. There’s not a bad seat in the house and when there’s 9,500 people in the house, it feels like there’s 20,000."
He was also college roommates with another Big 5 legend, Coach Fran Dunphy. Everyone who has played in or watched a game at the Palestra knows there’s something special about the place.
"It was just so exciting! They had the doubleheaders practically every Friday and Saturday night. It’s part of Philadelphia, for sure," Jim Kain commented.
Although the Big 5 isn’t what it used to be, certainly no more first basket streamers, but some want to make sure nights like this will keep the tradition alive.
"They should have doubleheaders and embrace the Palestra as the cathedral," Michuda added.