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Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 ¿ The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 ¿ The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

by Michael Lenehan
Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 ¿ The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

Ramblers: Loyola Chicago 1963 ¿ The Team that Changed the Color of College Basketball

by Michael Lenehan


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Today basketball is played “above the rim” by athletes of all backgrounds and colors. But 50 years ago it was a floor-bound game, and the opportunities it offered for African-Americans were severely limited.

A key turning point was 1963, when the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago took the NCAA men’s basketball title from Cincinnati, the two-time defending champions. It was one of Chicago’s most memorable sports victories, but Ramblers reveals it was also a game for the history books because of the transgressive lineups fielded by both teams.

Ramblers is an entertaining, detail-rich look back at the unlikely circumstances that led to Loyola’s historic championship and the stories of two Loyola opponents: Cincinnati and Mississippi State. Michael Lenehan’s narrative masterfully intertwines these stories in dramatic fashion, culminating with the tournament’s final game, a come-from-behind overtime upset that featured two buzzer-beating shots.

While on the surface this is a book about basketball, it goes deeper to illuminate how sport in America both typifies and drives change in the broader culture. The stark social realities of the times are brought vividly to life in Lenehan’s telling, illustrating the challenges faced in teams’ efforts simply to play their game against the worthiest opponents.

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781572841406
Publisher: Agate
Publication date: 03/12/2013
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 1,086,211
Product dimensions: 6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)

About the Author

Michael Lenehan is an award-winning journalist who was the longtime chief editorial executive of the Chicago Reader and a contributing editor of The Atlantic. He is a board member of the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies and the Medill School of Journalism's advisory board.

Table of Contents

Foreword 13

Prelude: Louisville, March 23, 1963 / 15 Down 17

Part 1 Beginnings

Chapter 1 Chicago / Coach on a Flagpole 23

Chapter 2 Mississippi / We were led to believe there were no Negroes 31

Chapter 3 Cincinnati / The Best Basketball Player in the World 35

Chapter 4 Chicago / Out-of-Town Talent 41

Chapter 5 New York-Chicago / Hungry Young Men 49

Chapter 6 Mississippi / A Big-Time Major Mistake 61

Chapter 7 Chicago / Stranger in the Heartland 65

Chapter 8 Cincinnati / Life Without Oscar 71

Chapter 9 Nashville-Chicago / Fast Break Basketball 79

Chapter 10 Chicago / Four Fab Freshmen 95

Chapter 11 Cincinnati / Jucker's Surprise 111

Chapter 12 Mississippi / Is there anything wrong with five white boys winning the national championship? 117

Interlude: Louisville, March 23, 1963 / Keep Shooting 123

Part 2 Collision Course

Chapter 13 Chicago / Off-Court Adjustments 131

Chapter 14 Cincinnati / Defending National Champions 137

Chapter 15 Chicago / Racial Peace Prevails 145

Chapter 16 Cincinnati / Two Flukes in a Row 157

Chapter 17 Mississippi / Civil War Redux 161

Chapter 18 Chicago / Collision Course 175

Chapter 19 Chicago / Four Blacks and an Albino 185

Chapter 20 Mississippi / Come Hell or High Water 193

Chapter 21 Chicago / The Greatest Fast-Break Team Ever 205

Chapter 22 Mississippi / Cloak and Dagger 211

Chapter 23 East Lansing / This is history 217

Chapter 24 Louisville / The Final Four 227

Overtime: Louisville, March 23, 1963 233

Part 3 Postgame

Chapter 25 Dancing in the Streets 239

Chapter 26 The Future of Basketball 243

Chapter 27 The Man 253

Chapter 28 Afterward 265

Acknowledgments 279

Notes and Sources 283

Index 291

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