Chicago has provided the game of basketball with countless legendary players, coaches, teams and moments. From the playgrounds in Jackson Park to the hardwood at the famed Chicago Stadium and now the United Center, many legends of the game have called Chicago home.

To honor this heritage, the inaugural State Farm Chicago Legends will be held at the United Center on December 17, 2016. The debut event will have a decidedly local flavor with Illinois and Northwestern matching up against perennial NCAA tournament schools BYU and Dayton, respectively. Chicago is home to more than 230,000 alumni from the combined universities, creating a natural fan base for the first-time event. Game times and television information will be announced later this summer.

In recognition of the players and coaches who have made Chicago a hotbed for hoops, a selection committee will annually recognize former standouts as Legends of Chicago Basketball. The newly named Legends will be honored on the court during the doubleheader.

“The State Farm Chicago Legends will be an impactful event not only in Chicago, but also in college basketball and we are excited to be part of it,” said Ed Gold, advertising director at State Farm. “State Farm is a proud supporter of college basketball and to help launch a fixture event in Chicago that will annually honor the city’s basketball heritage and feature great hoops competition is a fantastic opportunity for us.”

"Chicago is a great sports town and has a special place in basketball history," Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel said. "We are excited to welcome a new college basketball doubleheader to town that will highlight Chicago's rich history and provide fans with a great day of college hoops. We look forward to hosting the inaugural State Farm Chicago Legends college basketball doubleheader and welcoming fans from throughout the Midwest and across the country."

“When it comes to basketball, Chicago has a tradition that is second to none,” said Steve Skinner, CEO of KemperLesnik, a Chicago-based sports marketing agency that will produce the event and also manages the Maui Jim Maui Invitational and the CBS Sports Classic. “Our goal is to build the State Farm Chicago Legends into an annual event that will celebrate the City of Chicago and its basketball heritage.”

The four teams come to Chicago with a history of past success and recent accomplishments. Illinois and BYU rank among the NCAA’s top 15 all-time winningest programs with more than 1,700 victories each. Dayton has advanced to the NCAA Tournament each of the last three seasons, including an Elite Eight run in 2014, and Northwestern has seen steady growth under third-year coach and Northbrook, Ill., native Chris Collins, having won 20 regular-season games last season, a program first.

Fans should contact their respective school ticket departments for information on seating within their school blocks. Additionally, a limited supply of tickets will be available for purchase through beginning Thursday, June 9, at 10 a.m. CT through Monday, June 13, at 11:59 p.m. CT. Remaining tickets will go on sale to the general public in October.

Information on the event, and to sign up for email notifications regarding ticket news and team updates, can be found at Fans can also follow the State Farm Chicago Legends on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @ChiLegends.

Supporting Quotes from Participating Head Coaches:

John Groce, Illinois Head Coach:
“The University of Illinois has many connections to Chicago. Countless players from the city have lasting legacies within our program, so it’s a great chance for our team to be part of the State Farm Chicago Legends, an event that recognizes the many contributions of so many to the game of basketball. Not only are we excited to be part of this new staple in the Chicago sports calendar, we look forward to returning to Chicago and competing against a talented BYU team in front of a great Illini fan base.”

Chris Collins, Northwestern Head Coach:
“Personally, being part of an event that honors the great basketball tradition of the city of Chicago hits close to home for me. Having played high school basketball in the Chicagoland area and watching my father coach the Bulls, I know just how important the sport is to the city. The State Farm Chicago Legends is a fantastic opportunity to not only feature great college basketball, but also highlight the incredible contributions so many Chicagoans have had in the sport. It’s an honor for Chicago’s Big Ten Team to be part of this inaugural event.”

Dave Rose, BYU Head Coach:
“This is a great opportunity for our program. It’s always exciting to play in an NBA arena, especially an arena with tremendous history like the United Center. The State Farm Chicago Legends will be a terrific event for college basketball fans as it brings together four very competitive teams from outstanding conferences from around the country. We, and our fans, are excited to be part of this inaugural event in Chicago."

Archie Miller, Dayton Head Coach:
“We are very excited to be a part of this great event. Northwestern is a terrific program, Chris Collins and his staff have done an unbelievable job since taking over and they are going to have a terrific season. For us it’s a chance to challenge ourselves and do it on one of the biggest stages. We couldn’t be happier to bring our Chicago kids home to play in front of their friends and family, Chicago has been so good to us in many ways. I personally think it will be really exciting for our fans. We have such a strong presence of alums and Flyer Fans in the Chicago area who will show up in a big way.”

About The State Farm Chicago Legends
The State Farm Chicago Legends recognizes the tradition, history and passion of Chicago basketball. It will serve as an annual event in the Chicago sports calendar, and feature some of the nation’s top college basketball programs for a weekend of exciting competition and celebration of the city’s contributions to the game of basketball. For more information on the State Farm Chicago Legends, log on to and follow the event on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter at @ChiLegends.

About State Farm State Farm and its affiliates are the largest provider of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve more than 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2015 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit

About KemperLesnik
KemperLesnik is a sports marketing, events and public relations agency. Ranked by Crain's Chicago Business among Chicago's top PR agencies, KemperLesnik produces integrated communications programs and manages major national events, including the Maui Jim Maui Invitational, the CBS SPORTS Classic, the McDonald’s All American Games, the POWERADE Jam Fest and activation for KitchenAid and its PGA of America partnership. KemperLesnik has operated the Maui Jim Maui Invitational since 1990. For more information, visit

Media Contact: Dan Mihalik, KemperLesnik,, 312-888-2109

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