For Ryan Baker, there's no place like the home of Illini basketball — the Assembly Hall ... er, State Farm Center.
"The first time I ever saw and stepped foot into Assembly Hall was 1983 for the high school state basketball finals," says CBS Chicago's lead sports anchor, who remembers being "completely mesmerized by its spaceship exterior and cavernous size.
“Little did I know then that that iconic building would change my life.
“Four years later, I was a freshman basketball manager for legendary Coach Lou Henson and the Illinois basketball team. Being affiliated with the Flyin’ Illini has had a profound impact on me, both personally and professionally.
"Whenever I’m driving down Kirby and see the 'Hall' — no offense, State Farm Center — I know I’m back home.”