GEORGETOWN, Ky.—Philadelphia 76ers coach Doug Collins will be the keynote speaker for the 1972 Olympic basketball reunion banquet on August 25th in Lexington, KY.
Collins, a starting guard on the 1972 team, will be joining his former teammates two weeks after serving as NBC’s basketball analyst for the 2012 games in London, England. "We literally could not have found a more qualified speaker than Doug,” said Billy Reed, executive scholar in residence at Georgetown College and founding member of the planning committee. “He offers a unique perspective on what the team experienced in Munich and why it decided to not accept the silver medal. The 1972 team deserves to be remembered."
The Olympics, set in Munich that year, witnessed the first act of terrorism in the modern era with the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes at the hands of Palestinian gunmen. The U.S. team went on to play the Soviets in the gold medal game just days later.
“That gold medal game is one of the most controversial games in Olympic history,” said Reed. “The U.S. team refused to accept the silver medal after being bullied out of the gold. There’s a lot to be said about that kind of character, and a lot to be celebrated.”
Collins recently took the 76ers to the NBA play-offs. Before leading the 76ers, Collins was head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. He’s coached such basketball celebrities as Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and Charles Oakley.
The reunion will take place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 23-26 in Central Kentucky and include both public and private events. The capstone event will occur on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Griffin Gate Marriott. Collins will speak to his teammates and other notables at a public banquet dinner benefiting Georgetown’s Academy for Character in Sport.
“It is quite an honor to have Doug address the banquet,” said former captain of the team and Georgetown College alumnus Kenny Davis. Currently, Davis is an account executive at Converse, the founding sponsor of the anniversary celebration. “We’ve all gone different directions since leaving Munich. It will be a surreal experience to be among them all again.”
Co-captain of UK’s “Rupp’s Runts” Larry Conley will emcee the banquet. Conley was on the team that was the NCAA runner up in 1966 and has been a longtime college basketball and baseball analyst for ESPN.