Tracing roots of world's most famous arena

Teresa Weatherspoon and Rebecca Lobo waited until Aug. 15, 1999, to play before their first sold-out crowd at Madison Square Garden. AP Photo/Bill Kostroun

“The world’s most famous arena” received its official name on this date in 1879, when owner William Kissam Vanderbilt dubbed his roofless building Madison Square Garden. At the time, the property, which hosted dog shows and boxing matches, was located at 6th Street and Madison Square in New York. Since then, it has moved to its current location at 31st Street and 8th Avenue and has been home to some historic sports moments. Many of them featuring the world’s most famous female athletes. On March 28, 1976, Nadia Comaneci scored two perfect 10s on the vault, over two days, to highlight the first American Cup Gymnastics event. On March 27, 1977, Chris Evert beat Sue Barker in the final of the first Virginia Slims tournament at the Garden. Barker had defeated Martina Navratilova in the semifinals. On June 29, 1997, the WNBA’s New York Liberty, featuring Teresa Weatherspoon and Rebecca Lobo, played their first home game, beating the Mercury before a crowd of 17,780 fans. On March 2, 2009, Serena Williams, in her first Garden appearance, beat her sister Venus Williams at the inaugural Billie Jean King Cup.

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