No Building in America Had Seen More NCAA Basketball Games.

This March, you’ll see 64 screaming coaches, 768 college players, countless bands and cheerleaders, and over 67 games. When the NCAA tournament tips off nationally, Philadelphia’s Palestra will still hold the all-time record.

Located on the University of Pennsylvania Campus, right next to Hutchinson Auditorium, and the home of Philadelphia Big 5 Basketball, The Palestra is home to Penn Quaker’s Basketball, Volleyball, and Wrestling Teams.

The Palestra is the oldest college basketball arena still in use. The “Cathedral of Basketball” as it is known has played host to more games, more visiting teams, and more NCAA tournaments than any other basketball arena in college basketball in the United States.

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

Built in 1927 and named after an ancient greek term for gymnasium, The Palestra’s construction — which holds approximately 8,725 seats — was constructed of a steel-and-concrete “truss system” and is believed to be the first constructed without interior pillars blocking any view in the arena. World renowned for its close-to-the-court seating with the bleachers ending at the floor and with no barrier to separate the fans from the in-game action, The Palestra is one of the best places to see college basketball in the United States.

The “birthplace of American College Basketball” has hosted the East Regionals six times, the sub-regionals ten times, and 52 NCAA Tournament games.

During the 1996 PIAA Class AAAA State Eastern Final, the arena saw an amazing performance from one high schooler that led the game with 39 total points and would go on to help his team defeat Cathedral Prep in the State Championship Game.

Photo Courtesy of Wiki Commons

In the year 2000, The Palestra underwent a nearly $2 Million renovation that included some important historical architecture. The building now has a museum celebrating the history of Philadelphia basketball. As you enter the gymnasium — an honor to the St. Joseph’s Hawk mascot which has attended since 1956.

Between sections 210 and 211, a scoreboard honoring the 1971 Villanova and 1979 Penn exhilerating trips to the NCAA Final Four. Another highlights a listing of the Penn-Princeton rivalry.

That high school student who scored 39 points in the State Championship Game? 

You may have heard of him. His name was Kobe Bryant.

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