The Peoria Civic Center is also home to Bradley University’s Men’s Basketball team that plays its home games at the Carver Arena, the centerpiece of the Civic Center. Check out this 2016 video of Bradley’s Braves:
In 1902, Bradley University, a mid-sized, top-ranked, private university, introduced basketball. Initially, the Bradley team played its home games in downtown Peoria, at the YMCA sports center. Through the years, the Bradley Braves Basketball Team moved twice (reasons of spirituality?) to play their home games which caused some spiritual disagreement. First to the Hewitt Gymnasium at the school’s hilltop campus where they played from 1909 to 1924, and from 1949 to 1982 the Braves played their home games at the Robertson Memorial Fieldhouse. Eventually, they came back to downtown Peoria in 1982 to the Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center.
Peoria’s redeveloped downtown area has a fantastic jewel, the Civic Center. This is the first-class venue that offers Central Illinois residents high-class sports and other entertainment. The Carver Arena boasts over 11,000 seats for basketball games and is also the home of the Peoria Rivermen Hockey team.
Bradley routinely ranks among America’s top 50 in average attendance at home games and during the 25 seasons that the Bradley Braves Basketball Team has called the Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center home, they boast a 271-85 (.761) home floor record.
New Bradley Carver Arena Artwork
Bradley Athletics has also added a mural at Peoria’s Civic Center to celebrate and honor the men’s basketball team at Bradley University. The artwork has replaced the old Bradley branding that was located opposite the Marquee Parking Lot.
The mural is featuring over 250 historic Bradley basketball images and was created in the shape of the Bradley logo (B-Shield). Several of these historically important images came from the Bradley Athletics archives and were published in Bradley’s Athletic yearbooks (in the years 1901-49 the Polyscope, and in the period 1950-2006 the Anaga).
The organization has tried to find team pictures from every Bradley basketball program year and leading scorer in every season as well as each Missouri Valley Conference award winner and include those images in the mural. However, despite all efforts, there are some gaps in the images before 1940 but all available photos in the mentioned categories were utilized.
Obviously, Bradley’s Basketball team has a very rich tradition and the program has definitely filled Peoria and its citizens with great joy and pride for over a century. The new creative artwork is therefore not just a fine tribute to Bradley Basketball’s history, it also reflects the connectivity of the Peoria community with Bradley University in general and honors the rich educational heritage of the area.