Elvis Presley’s Fascination With Racquetball: How the Sport Hit Close to Home

by Matthew Wilson

Elvis Presley may have been known for his songs and vocal work up on stage. But the King of Rock ‘n Roll had many passions during his life. This included the sport of racquetball.

Just how much of a fan was Presley? Well, he even built his own racquetball court at his Graceland mansion. The King never did anything halfway, and when he found a new hobby, he often took things to extreme measures. Just take a look at how many TVs he had at Graceland. Or that time he wanted to play a pick-up football game….with one of the NFL’s greatest quarterbacks.

So in the summer of 1975, Presley decided to add an addition to his Graceland mansion. He built the Racquetball Building so he didn’t have to go far to enjoy his favorite sport. Sadly, the singer didn’t get to enjoy the building for long. His health declined during the ’70s, and he passed away in 1977.

Elvis Presley and Racquetball

Elvis Presley enjoyed many different things in life. He loved rollercoasters and karate in addition to the aforementioned football. But racquetball was a passion the singer didn’t find until late in his life. For one, Presley may not have heard about the sport until the 1970s.

Racquetball didn’t really take off until 1969. And it had only been created a few short decades prior in the 1950s. It was similar to handball in a way. The year 1973 didn’t just bring Presley his famed “Aloha From Hawaii” special but also his first racquetball game.

Before he built his own court, Presley would go to play at the courts at the YMCA gym or Memphis State. It became one of his favorites. According to the Graceland website, Presley loved to stay up until very late in the night playing racquetball. When most people would be asleep, the singer would be busy getting a workout in.

The building at Graceland actually still stands to this day. In 2017, the estate announced they had restored the Racquetball Building to its former glory. Half of the building included a pinball machine, piano, and other exercise equipment as well.

The other half of the building functioned as a trophy room for all of Presley’s accomplishments. The room contains every award the singer won since his death and also some of his iconic jumpsuits as well. The building is a testament to both Presley’s career and also his love for the sport.