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Oh I Had That: Pizza Hut March Madness Basketballs

It’s March and I live in North Carolina, which means all the people around me are going nuts for March Madness. It’s like a religion here and well… I don’t really care. My love of basketball died sometime around the time Michael Jordan retired and a bunch of UNC basketball players treated me like a piece of trash while working at GameStop. But there was a time in my life, when basketball was the most important thing. Arguably from age 8-15, there was nothing more that I loved more than basketball.

Those North Carolina roots ran deep for me. Michael Jordan of course played at UNC and that meant I was both a huge UNC fan and Michael Jordan fan. I loved reading basketball books, playing video games, and playing basketball itself. Even to this day, in my middle-aged fat kid shape, I still get the urge to shoot hoops every now and again. There was just something so simple and fun about the sport back then. Of course, now I turn it on and I barely recognize the game I once loved. Here’s a photo of my Dad and I playing basketball sometime in the 90’s.

Enough about that, March Madness was always a big deal around my house. So big, that if my grades were good, my dad would come and pull me out of school once a year when March Madness began so I could watch the day games. Its one of my fondest memories and something I truly cherish.

During the 90’s, in basketball’s prime, it seemed everyone wanted a piece of the action. Looney Tunes made movies with Michael Jordan and there were dozens of product tie-ins and promotions from various establishments. One such establishment was Pizza Hut, back when it looked like this:

In 1993 and 1994, Pizza Hut ran a promotion where it gave away Final Four branded street balls. These basketballs were some of the best looking of the time and were a must have for kids everywhere.

Sadly, the balls were cheaply made and didn’t last a long time. They were the type of basketballs I’d pull out for special occasions, while trying not to ruin the cool graphics printed on them. Most of the time, they found there way as display items in my room alongside UNC mini basketballs I won at Carowinds and a random stuffed Knicks basketball also won at Carowinds shooting basketballs.

The two Pizza Hut streetballs I had were from the 1993 and 1994 Final Fours.

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  1. My dad collected these. I don’t think anybody ever played with them. My dad had other basketballs he used. I liked the 1993 version better. We kept them in a spare bedroom as collectors items along with some smaller WNBA Sparks basketballs. When we moved in 2008 we got rid of them.The balls were all warped and rotted.

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