Our Stories

Legends Play Here

March 2, 2020

Red Grange, Dick Butkus, Deon Thomas, Deron Williams, Mike Small, Tatianna McFadden—all legends that have trained and competed at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Who will be the next legend to play in the greater Champaign County area?


After a season full of hard-work, sweat, and likely some tears, you make it to the championships. As a student-athlete, you should get the experience of a lifetime. Playing on the same courts as earlier legends, with state-of-the-art technology to create an invigorating environment like no other, athletes will make life-long memories in Champaign County.


Close your eyes and imagine the experience of competing in the State Farm Center, after a $170 million renovation to make it the premier venue for sports. From the moment you enter the arena, you feel a part of something. The walls are adorned with images of the legends that walked the halls. The locker rooms, utilized by the men’s and women’s Fighting Illini Basketball teams, are yours to get prepared. The ready room, linking the locker rooms, is built to energize your team before you head to the court.


Then it hits you. As you step foot into the tunnel, goosebumps appear on your skin. You can feel the electricity from the crowd before you can even see them. You’re about to step out onto the court where so many other legends have played.


With flashing lights in your team colors, the announcers are calling your name. It is time to showcase why you made it here. It is time to let the atmosphere fill you with pride before the whistles blow and the game clock begins.


Throughout the game, your fans and teammates will catch glimpses of you on the jumbotron. State-of-the-art technology will get fans in the seats on their feet as the action plays out on the court. You will remember every second of that time on the court, and you may become a legend in your own right.    


You will now be a part of something larger than yourself. You’ll be part of the tradition of playing basketball in Illinois’ premier arena.


Athletes and fans alike eagerly await competition on our Big Ten campus, conveniently located in the heart of the state. From wrestling and football championships with the Illinois High School Association to regional and national championship tournaments for the Big Ten and NCAA, our impressive facilities host numerous sports and large crowds such as the State Farm Center and Memorial Stadium. Teams from far and wide come to play cornhole, ultimate frisbee, youth soccer, baseball and softball, archery, and to race in marathons.


Beyond the event, Champaign County is an Outside of Ordinary destination to spend time before and after the competition. As a leader in the local foods, Champaign-Urbana was named Midwest Living’s Greatest Midwest Food Town. With an abundance of local restaurants, countless bars, and small shops, downtown Champaign offers fans an opportunity to relax and celebrate. As the largest public institution in Illinois, the University of Illinois is ripe for exploring. From the picturesque Quad, to technology hubs, to cultural spots such as the Japan House, there is much to do for all ages.


Yet, we know it’s about the game. You’ve worked hard to be here and deserve the experience due to champions. Let us host you for the big moment, because Legends Play Here.

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