LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – 22 of Lexington’s most influential sports figures and teams were recognized by the Lexington African American Athletic Hall of Fame (LAASHOF) as the red carpet rolled out and the lights were on.
“We grew up hearing these names, and we’re honoring these legends tonight,” said LAASHOF co-founder Jennifer Jones. “We grew up playing sports and they were our role models.”
The Central Bank Center is filled with memorabilia of all kinds, from those that left a lasting and indelible mark on their youth in Lexington to others who have left Fayette County to become World Series champions, NBA pros, and more .
Jones noted that all of these historical pieces will be part of the physical LAASHOF museum they will open in the future.
Jones said they purposely included a few introductions from bygone eras in the first class because they had to break down barriers to play and coach their favorite sports.
“Especially those from the apartheid era who paved the way for some of the people we know tonight,” Jones said.
Among the inductees was a 1956 Douglas team that won the National Black High School Basketball Championship…and a star-studded 1959 Dunbar basketball team.
“They had All-Americans, the guys who went pro,” Jones said. “But when they came home, it was like they never left. So we wanted to make them feel special.”
While they spent the night cheering on the history of the black movement in Lexington, they also wanted to give back by looking to the future. Three Lexington student-athletes received LAASHOF scholarships to support their college careers.
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