The plans for the stadium were drawn up in 1935 by basketball coach Eddie Cameron. The stadium was designed by Julian Abele, who studied at the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris, France. The same architectural firm that built the Palestra was brought in to build the new stadium. The arena was dedicated on January 6, 1940, having cost $400,000. At the time, it was the largest gymnasium in the country south of the Palestra at the University of Pennsylvania. Originally called "Duke Indoor Stadium", it was renamed for Cameron on January 22, 1972. The first televised game took place on January 28, 1979 against Marquette, it was broadcast by NBC and won by Duke 69–64.
The building originally included seating for 8,800, though standing room was sufficient to ensure that 9,500 could fit in on a particularly busy day. Then, as now, Duke students were allocated a large number of the seats, including those in the lower sections directly alongside the court. Renovations in 1987–1988 removed the standing room areas, added an electronic scoreboard and display over center court, wood paneling, brass railings and student seats, bringing capacity to 9,314, though now there is sufficient standing to ensure a total of 10,000 could fit into Cameron Indoor on a very busy day. For high profile games, students are known to pack in as many as 1,600 into the student sections, designed for a maximum of 1,100. Prior to the 2002–2003 basketball season, air conditioning units were installed in Cameron for the first time as a response to health and odor concerns for players and fans alike. Prior to the 2008–09 season, a new video scoreboard replaced the electronic board over center court. Before the 2009–10 season, additional changes were made, including installing LED ribbon boards to the front of the press table and painting the upper seats Duke blue.
The students and fans are known as "Cameron Crazies" for their support of the team and loud cheering that has been recorded as high as 121.3 dB, which is louder than a power saw at 3 feet or a jackhammer.
For access to major games, including those against the University of North Carolina, students reside in tents for months in an area outside of Cameron known as "Krzyzewskiville". The hardwood floor was dedicated and renamed Coach K Court in November 2000.