A New York Times article recently ran chronicling Tim Bassett’s experience as a former NCAA star, ABA and NBA player in the 1960s and 1970s.
Specifically, the article touches upon the racism that Bassett faced in college basketball when he left Idaho for the University of Georgia.
The article displays a side of Adolph Rupp that many NCAA fans may not be aware of. Kentucky’s legendary Hall-of-Fame coach and the third-winningest coach in NCAA history, behind Dean Smith and Bobby Knight, stands out in the article, and not in a positive light.
Tim Bassett, 58, is a former broadcaster and professional basketball player who played in the American Basketball Association and the N.B.A.
Bassett was a muscular 6-foot-8 forward when he attended Georgia from 1971 to 1973… while playing at Georgia, he encountered a racist dimension of American culture.
Claude Felton, the associate athletic director for communications at Georgia, said the university had only a handful of black athletes before Bassett. One of Bassett’s teammates, Ronnie Hogue, became the first black athlete to play a major sport at Georgia in 1970.
The first time Bassett and the Bulldogs played Kentucky was a home game on Jan. 17, 1972. Georgia won that game, 85-73. Bassett had 27 points and 13 rebounds. After the game, the legendary Kentucky coach Adolph Rupp approached Bassett.
“He said I didn’t belong in the Southeast Conference, and he said, ‘We’ll get you back when you come to Lexington,’ ” Bassett said.
When the Bulldogs went to Lexington a month later, they entered the gym to find Bassett hanging in effigy from the ceiling. Stunned, Bassett’s teammates offered not to play the game if Bassett were too uncomfortable there. A motivated Bassett played anyway and had 17 points and 17 rebounds, but Georgia lost, 87-63.
After the game, Bassett wanted to let Rupp know just how he felt about Rupp’s allowing the effigy in Kentucky’s gym… (read more at the New York Times)
The article gets into an altercation that Bassett and Ronnie Hogue, another African-American player on the University of Georgia team, got into after repeatedly being hit with cheapshot after cheapshot as the referess doing nothing about it.
‘Tim, if a guy hits me one more time, I’m going to take his head off. I can’t take it anymore.” said Hogue “The referees aren’t doing anything.”