Hoosiers on the court

Louie Dampier

Louie Dampier, a 6-foot guard, was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts, this past fall.

Dampier graduated from Southport High School near Indianapolis in 1963. He overcame great adversity in his life, dealing with the devastating loss of both parents by the age of 18.

After high school, he played at the University of Kentucky for legendary coach Adolph Rupp and in 1966 led the Wildcats to the NCAA championship game, where they lost to Texas Western College.

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At Kentucky, he scored 1,575 career points, third highest in the history of UK at the time. He is one of the most popular players in the history of UK basketball.

After college, he played in the ABA, the rival league of the NBA. Dampier was a star for the Kentucky Colonels, a team out of Louisville. He played for the Colonels for nine seasons, and when the league merged with the NBA in 1976, he was the all-time ABA leader in points and assists. He won an ABA championship with the Colonels in 1975.

After the merger, he played three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.

Coach Dale Crafton took me to a couple of ABA games in the 1970s. This was a great league, and during that time, the ABA was much more entertaining than the NBA. I will have more about the ABA later on.

But for now, congratulations, Louie Dampier. You may have played for the Kentucky Wildcats, but you were born a Hoosier.

Mike Barrett is a local resident with an interest in history. Send comments to zspicer@tribtown.com.