First Pickleball Bobbleheads Unveiled on National Pickleball Day
MILWAUKEE – Today, to celebrate National Pickleball Day, the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum unveiled the first Pickleball Bobbleheads. The first bobblehead features Kitchen the Pickleball Mascot while the second is a Pickleball Bobble which is the newest addition to the Sports Ball Bobble Series. The announcement of their release coincides with National Pickleball Day, which is celebrated on Tuesday, August 8th. The special edition bobbleheads are being produced by the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum.
Standing on a yellow pickleball-shaped base bearing his name, the smiling Kitchen bobblehead is holding a paddle featuring his picture. Wearing sunglasses on his pickleball-shaped head, Kitchen is also wearing a pair of shorts with a net design and a blue cap with his name and a pickleball paddle across the front. The bobblehead, which will be individually numbered to 2,023, is only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobblehead, which is expected to ship in November, costs $30 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order.
The Pickleball Bobble is the newest addition to the first-of-its-kind Sports Ball Bobble Series and joins previously released balls for baseball, basketball, football, golf, hockey, soccer, and tennis that all bobble. The Pickleball Bobble is on a base that is a replica of a pickleball court. “Pickleball” is featured prominently in big, block letters on the front of the base. Each bobble is individually numbered to 2,023 and they are only available through the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum’s Online Store. The bobbles are $25 each plus a flat-rate shipping charge of $8 per order.
Designed and owned by Melvin LeBlanc, Kitchen made his debut appearance at the Association of Pickleball Professionals Players Casa Grande Pickleball Open in December 2021. As for his name, Kitchen, refers to the seven-foot zone on each side of the net. The non-volley zone is more commonly referred to as “the kitchen” of a pickleball court. Players are not permitted to volley while standing in it. The kitchen rule exists to prevent a player from standing at the net and smashing every hit.
Pickleball has grown rapidly in popularity since its invention in 1965 as a children’s backyard game at the summer home of Joel Pritchard on Bainbridge Island, Washington. Pritchard and two of his friends, Barney McCallum and Bill Bell, are credited with devising the game and establishing the rules. In 2022, pickleball was adopted as the official state sport of Washington.
The fast-paced sport has many similarities to tennis, badminton, and table tennis. It is played on a level court with short-handed paddles and a hard plastic ball that has holes through it – like a Whiffle ball. The ball is volleyed over a low net by two players in singles competition or by two pairs of players in doubles. The sport can be played either outdoors or indoors. Fun for all ages and easy for beginners to learn, pickleball was named the fastest-growing sport in the U.S. by the Sports and Fitness Industry Association in 2021, 2022 and 2023.
"We’re thrilled to be unveiling the first two Pickleball Bobbles on National Pickleball Day,” National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum co-founder and CEO Phil Sklar said. “The bobblehead of Kitchen and the Pickleball Sports Ball Bobble will be must-haves for pickleball players everywhere!”
Kitchen wrote, “I’m excited to have this bobblehead that Pickleball players and fans around the world will be able to display and enjoy. I hope it puts a smile on people’s faces just like they have when they see me!”
About the National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum:
The National Bobblehead Hall of Fame and Museum, which is located at 170 S. 1st St. in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, opened to the public on February 1st, 2019. The HOF and Museum also produces high quality, customized bobbleheads for retail sale as well as organizations, individuals, and teams across the country. Visit us online and on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.