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Barney McCallum named inaugural KAR Lifetime Achievement Award winner

NOTE: This is part of a series of biographies about inductees to the Kitsap Athletic Roundtable’s 2019 Kitsap County Sports Hall of Fame. The HOF Banquet is Saturday, Jan. 25 at Kiana Lodge. A social hour begins at noon with lunch at 1 p.m. and induction at 1:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at kitsapathleticroundtable.org.

Barney McCallum is the recipient of the first Kitsap Athletic Roundtable Lifetime Achievement Award.  It’s a special award, and recognizes McCallum for his role in creating one of the fastest growing sports in America:  Pickleball.

The USA Pickleball Association (USAPA) considers McCallum, who died at 93 on Nov. 18, 2019, one of the sport’s inventors.  

Pickleball evolved in the summer of 1965 at a cabin on Bainbridge Island that was owned by Joel Pritchard, a U.S. Representative and later lieutenant governor of the state. Pritchard and McCallum were good friends. Along with Bill Bell, another friend, the trio came up with the game on a gray, lazy day. The idea was to come up with a game for their children. They used a badminton court that combined the elements of ping-pong, badminton and tennis. The three men established Pickle-Ball Inc., and McCallum was the guy who made paddles, balls, and for decades became the driving force in keeping the sport alive.

The game was named after the Pritchard’s dog Pickles, who would chase the ball and run off with it.

Barney McCallum, an inventor of the game of pickleball, will be inducted into the Kitsap Sports Hall of Fame as its first KAR Lifetime Achievement Award. (Courtesy photo)

It wasn’t long until the adults started playing it competitively and the game moved from Bainbridge Island, where it was born, to McCallum’s Magnolia home in Seattle. Pickleball, a game that started out as a fun game for families on Bainbridge Island, is now being played around the world largely because of Barney McCallum.

McCallum, a Navy veteran who served in World War II, was one of the inductees into the USAPA’s inaugural Hall of Fame class in 2017.

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