Rich Clarkson Inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame

Rich Clarkson Enshrined into Basketball Hall of Fame


Few people, if any, have had the impact on sports photography and photographing the game of basketball that Rich Clarkson has had.

On Thur, September 10, Rich was enshrined into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as being awarded the Hall of Fame’s Curt Gowdy Media Award. 

He is the first photographer to be enshrined into the Hall of Fame. 

After meeting the creator of basketball, James Naismith, as a young boy, Rich became infatuated with the sport.

His infatuation would lead to photographing basketball players and coaches for over 60 years, including 60 Final Fours. He’s captured acclaimed photos of Kareem Adbul-Jabar (still Lew Alcindor at the time), Wilt Chamberlain, Larry Bird, Dean Smith, John Wooden and Bill Knight, among many others. 


Many professionals in today’s sports photography look to Rich as the man who helped start it all. Before Rich, a telephoto lens on a basketball court was unheard of, but after Rich’s 30 Sports Illustrated covers throughout his career, many of his techniques have become standard in the industry.

To honor Rich Clarkson, Sports Illustrated is running a piece featuring some of Rich’s most iconic Final Four photos – of which there are several. View the gallery here:

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