Pickleball hall of fame - the 5 greatest names on the list

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Brandon Mackie

Updated on: Nov 13, 2022

Pickleball player Ben Johns fires a shot across the net

As pickleball continues its meteoric growth, we’ve decided it’s time to honor some of the legends of the sport. And what better way to do so than with the “Pickleball Hall of Fame”?

But how was the Pickleball Hall of Fame established, and who has been inducted so far? And most confusingly, why does pickleball have two Halls of Fame?!

We’ve got questions, so we decided to dedicate this article to answering them. Read on to learn all about the Pickleball Hall of Fame, and how you can get access to its hallowed halls. But first, we want to share our own list of legends with you.

The 5 greatest players in the pickleball hall of fame

A graphic showing the five greatest players in the pickleball hall of fame

Before we get into how the PHOF works, we’re sharing our top 5 greatest players out of the 30 so far inducted. Let’s dive right in!

1. Arlen Paranto

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A picture of pickleball player Arlen Paranto

Truly a founding father of modern pickleball, Arlen Paranto has been involved in pickleball for four decades. He’s one of the most famous pickleball players in history.

He contributed to the first ever book that detailed pickleball's serving rules and other stipulations for tournament play, and helped design portable pickleball net systems. He also competed in countless tournaments and continued to play pickleball into his early 80s.

His most important contribution to the sport came when he combined his day job with his pickleball passion. This is how he came up with an idea that changed pickleball paddles forever.

As a Boeing engineer, Arlen had access to super-light composite materials used in aircraft manufacture. He realized that honeycomb floor panels could be used to develop a high-quality pickleball paddle that was stronger than wood but also significantly lighter.

And so, in 1984, the Pro-Lite paddle company was born, and the pickleball paddle that everyone uses today came into being.

2. Alex Hammer

California native Alex Hamner was inducted into the Pickleball Hall of Fame in 2017, and when you see her career stats it’s easy to see why.

In her career, Alex has won 21 gold medals at the USA Pickleball Nationals, U.S. Open Pickleball championships, and the Tournament of Champions. She and another pickleball hall-of-famer, Jennifer Lucore, regularly team up to make a formidable double act. Together, they have won five USA Open/Pro National Championships

Off the courts, she’s a tireless pickleball ambassador. She shares her passion for the sport as far and wide as she can.

She was on the founding board of the International Pickleball Teachers Professional Association (IPTPA) which develops teaching standards for the sport of pickleball. She is also a regular contributor to Pickleball Magazine.

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3. Fran Myer

Fran Myer is a true pickleball devotee. Her passion for the sport has inspired her to make a career of it.

Having taken up pickleball at the tender age of 42, Fran has won over 200 awards and medals over the years. But her contribution to the sport has been biggest off the court.

She and her husband Barney put on the first-ever USA Pickleball National Tournament in 2009, and she acted as co-director and then board member of the USA Pickleball for the following 15 years.

Perhaps most famously, she set up the first ever Pickleball website in 1999——which sold all things pickleball to pickleheads around the world for the following two decades.

4. Yvonne Hackenberg

Yvonne Hackenberg is another founding member of the International Pickleball Teachers Professional Association (IPTPA). She has been a steadfast promoter and advocate of pickleball since she discovered the game in 2009.

She is a USA Pickleball-certified referee and ‘pickleball ambassador at large’ and was also one of the founders of the Pickleball Hall of Fame, which inducted her in 2021.

She is also the founder of Pickleball Outreach, a non-profit organization that donates funds to local communities to build new pickleball facilities, or to enhance existing facilities.

5. Jennifer Lucore

Number 5 on our list is the pickleball powerhouse Jennifer Lucore. Her tournament wins include 17-time USA Pickleball Nationals, 11-time Canadian Nationals, 6-time Huntsman World Senior Games, 6-time International Tournaments, 4-time Tournament of Champions, and many golds at the US Open Pickleball Championships and pro tours.

A best friend to number 2 on our list, Alex Hamner, the pair has won five USA Open/Pro National Championships together.

Off the court, Jennifer is a serious pickleball expert, having authored the definitive history of the sport (History of Pickleball - More Than 50 Years of Fun!) and founded She is an IFP and USA Pickleball ambassador at large and devotes her life to helping the sport grow.

Who is in the pickleball hall of fame?

In the six years since the Pickleball Hall of Fame was founded, there have been 30 legends of the sport inducted.

Below is a list of the people inducted between 2017 and 2022. They have been joined in 2023 by Jennifer Dawson, Mona Burnett, Scott Moore, Bill Booth, and Pickleball Hall of Fame founder Seymour Rifkind.

A graphic showing the different inductees to the pickleball hall of fame

Why was the pickleball hall of fame established?

The mission of the Pickleball Hall of Fame is to honor and recognize those who have made exceptional contributions to the growth, development and leadership of the game.

The inductees are not just famous pickleball players, but people who have a lasting impact on the popularity and organization of the game.

Who can be nominated to the pickleball hall of fame?

A couple of pickleball players prepare to return their opponent's shot

Anyone can be nominated to the Pickleball Hall of Fame, and anyone can make a nomination. The official website puts it like this:

“The Pickleball Hall of Fame will recognize individuals who have achieved exceptional results in pickleball play over the course of their career, as well as those who have made exceptional contributions to the growth, development and leadership of the game. All candidates should have also demonstrated a high level of character, integrity, sportsmanship and consideration for others and thus earned the respect and admiration of their peers.”

The nomination procedures start with an application form being submitted to the chair of the nominating committee. This form should give a biography of the person highlighting the special contributions made by the candidate to the sport of pickleball.

The nominating committee, consisting of nine members, will then choose ten people in the competitor category and three for the contributor category. These are then sent to the selection committee. More on this later.

Categories in pickleball hall of fame

A graphic explaining the two categories in the pickleball hall of fame

There are two categories that someone can be nominated for—competitor and contributor. In order to be considered by the awarding panel, there are certain criteria that a nominee must fulfill.

For the competitor category, a player must have ‘dominated the game for at least a 5-year period of time’. This basically means they have to have been winning medals in the top competitions.

In the contributors category, a person must have worked to develop, improve or promote pickleball on an international level for a minimum of five years. The ‘international’ part is important—local advocates will not be considered.

Who elects players to the hall of fame and how?

Once the selection committee has received ten candidates in the competitor category and three in the contributors category from the nomination committee, the deliberation commences.

The seven members of the selection committee discuss the merits of all the candidates and then vote. Each year, a maximum of three players and one contributor will be chosen for induction.

Why does pickleball have 2 halls of fame?

So, this is where things get a little confusing. Throughout this article, we’ve been talking about the Pickleball Hall of Fame (PHOF).

But there is also a USA Pickleball Hall of Fame and Museum, a non-profit organization that aims to capture and record the history of pickleball as well as recognize and honor athletes and contributors to the sport.

Unfortunately, the move by the USA Pickleball to form its own hall of fame was taken very badly by the pickleball community and caused a lot of controversy.

Luckily, however, the two bodies have seen sense, and a press release on their websites explains that they have ‘reached an understanding that, if completed, will result in one pickleball hall of fame’. Thank goodness for that!

Pickleball hall of fame championships

The sun sets over a pickleball court with the flag of Texas flying in the background
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As of 2021, the Pickleball Hall of Fame holds an annual fundraising event, which includes a pickleball tournament with categories for all skill and age levels.

On the day, you can participate in a clinic taught by Hall of Famers, as well as Q&A sessions, an inductee dinner and various cocktail hours. Sounds like our kind of party!

The Pickleball Hall of Fame Tournament is held at Dreamland in Texas, a specially designed pickleheads paradise. You can register for tickets for next year's event here.

Bottom line

So, fellow Pickleheads, that’s it. Our rundown of the Pickleball Hall of Fame has come to an end. We hope we’ve answered all your questions about the PHOF, and that you enjoyed our own leaderboard of legends of the sport.

If you have any further questions or any suggestions for next year's PHOF submissions, drop a comment on our socials. We’d love to hear from you.

In the meantime, get out there and get practicing, and maybe one day your name will be on the list too!


About the author
Brandon Mackie
Brandon is an avid writer and co-founder of Pickleheads™. Once a competitive tennis player, Brandon can now be found these days honing his dinks on pickleball courts near Phoenix, Arizona.
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