LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The eight 2023 inductees for the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame are set to enter the Hall. On Thursday night the Natural State’s sports figures of old and new met for a reception at the ASHOF Museum at Simmons Bank Arena.

Celebrated by local fans, teammates, and former inductees, the accomplished products of Arkansas high schools and colleges soak in the moment before Friday night’s formal banquet in downtown Little Rock.

“All of our skills and ability, our hard work, playing our sport in different states and all over the country,” 2000s Morrilton and Tennessee basketball star, now Sylvan Hills head coach Shekinna Stricklen said. “Just putting Arkansas on the map and now they’re able to give back to us in this special moment.”

“It’s a really big honor and a privilege for me to be inducted,” 1970s Little Rock Central basketball star Fred Allen said. “This is something that I used to dream about as a kid. Now I can truly say dreams do come true.”

“It’s absolutely an honor and I’m just so thankful that I can go in with guys like Fred Allen who I grew up,” Central grad and all-70’s team Razorbacks football defensive tackle Jimmy Walker said. “Every year people ask me, hey why aren’t you in there. Well I’m in there now. And that’s the main thing that counts.” 

Inductees this year include Diamond Hogs legend, former MLB 1st-overall pick Jeff King; Morrilton high school basketball star, Tennessee Volunteer and former WNBA 2nd-overall pick Shekinna Stricklen; and broadcaster Steve Sullivan. Senior inductees include Glen Ray Hines and Jimmy Walker of Razorbacks football, Fred Allen of Central High basketball, Freddie Scott of Pine Bluff football, and Larry Walton of UCA tennis.

Having their names forever cemented into Arkansas history leaves these inductees feeling grateful and remembering how they got to this point.

“Just knowing my beginnings,” ’80s Razorbacks baseball third-baseman and former MLB first overall pick Jeff King said. “Very thankful for the opportunity to become a Razorback. Really having no idea that we’d get to the College World Series… Really crazy and now topping it all of now to be inducted into the hall of fame is quite the honor.”

“To be inducted into the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame is the highest honor that an athlete can receive in the state of Arkansas,” Fred Allen said. “I’m overjoyed, my heart is full of joy, and I’m at a loss for words.”

Visit the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame website for more information on the 2023 inductees and see our full story to hear more on their contributions to the state’s sports scene.