Paying Homage to History

Philadelphia - University of Pennsylvania graduate and women's basketball standout Mikaelyn Austin has hung up her sneakers and picked up the camera as she is producing a documentary with a place that is near and dear to her serving as the subject - The Palestra: Cathedral of Basketball.

Thefilm will highlight the unique history of the gymnasium, what it has meant to Penn and what it has brought to the thousands of basketball fans in this city. Austin will take you back to historic moments in The Palestra, from when ground was broken in 1927 to the first NCAA Final Four to the establishment of the Big 5.

"The film combines emotionally engaging personal anecdotes on the history of a treasured game in a fanatic city with the exploration of the money-generating maching that same game has become today. These elements not only make for captivating storytelling, they present a closer look at the roots behind one our nation's most watched and beloved entertainment sources, and will appeal to a wide range of viewership beyond the Philadelphia area," explains Austin.

Austin knows first hand about the magic the building can bring. She and her 2003-04 teammates captured Penn's second women's basketball Ivy League championship with a 78-61 win over Dartmouth on Mar. 5, 2004. It allowed the Red and Blue's fourth-most prolific three-point shooter (126 three-point field goals in her career) to celebrate a conference title for the second time in her career. The Quakers also won the Ancient Eight crown in 2000-01, Austin's freshman season.

"As a former member of the Univerisity of Pennsylvania women's basketball team, I spent four years of my life practicing and playing in this Mecca of college hoops. I want to bring the viewer along to discover first hand the magic that once flourished on 33rd Street and to investigate why that thriving environment nearly became extinct," added the 2004 graduate.

Below is a link to The site allows you to step into The Palestra and see for yourself how marvelous it is. It informs you about the project, its producer and how you can get involved. If you are a Philadelphia native, a fan of basketball, or just a history buff, visit the site and support Mikaelyn's creative vision and lovefor this landmark in the world of sports.

Written by Mat Kanan, associate director of athletic communications