Senior staff writer
Southport’s Louie Dampier received a standing ovation in 2013 when his No. 32 high school basketball jersey was retired in historic Southport Fieldhouse.
Dampier received another standing ovation Sept. 11 when introduced as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass. He was one of 11 honorees in this year’s class.
The 1963 Indiana All-Star informed the audience, including his family, that it was a time for thank yous, which included his legendary Southport coach, Blackie Braden.
“I had a coach, Blackie Braden, who prepared me for Adolf Rupp,” said Dampier, recruited by Rupp at the University of Kentucky. “He (Braden) told me I had to move my shot out to 20 feet. He helped me prepare and worked with me after school; for that I thank coach Braden.”
While he spoke of his beloved Southport, High School, Dampier assured the crowd that he wanted Southport to be part of his basketball history on display in the Hall of Fame. Dampier’s No. 32 is the only number to be retired in school history.
“They did me the honor to have that number retired,” Dampier recalled. “I am so proud of that and I want to make that part of my display. I want my high school, Southport, in the Hall of Fame.”
After his high school career, Dampier would help lead UK to the historic 1966 NCAA national championship game against Texas Western.
He later starred for the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association, where he stands as the league’s leader in points (13,726), assists (4,044), minutes played (27,770) and games played (728).
Colonels coach Hubie Brown recalled Dampier’s impact with ABA champion Kentucky in 1974-75, when he won nine games on last-second shots. Dampier did that throughout high school, including against Washington in a sectional championship.
Dampier retired from pro basketball in 1979 after playing three seasons with the San Antonio Spurs in the NBA.
He acknowledged his family and added, “The last 33 years of my life have been my happiest due to my beautiful wife, my rock, Judy.”
In a taped interview before his induction, Dampier said, “Indiana is the basketball state. Indiana’s still in my heart. I’m a Hoosier – I went to Southport.”