Lexington African-American Sports Hall of Fame inducts first-ever class

Memorabilia from some of Lexington's most influential sports figures and teams lined the...
Memorabilia from some of Lexington's most influential sports figures and teams lined the Central Bank Center on Saturday, September 24, 2022.(Jeremy Tombs)
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 10:52 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The red carpet was rolled out and the lights were shining bright as 22 of Lexington’s most influential athletic figures and sports teams were recognized by the Lexington African-American Sports Hall of Fame (LAASHOF).

“We grew up hearing these names, these legends we’re honoring tonight,” said Jennifer Jones, who co-founded LAASHOF. “We all played sports growing up and they were our role models.”

The Central Bank Center was lined with a variety of memorabilia, from those whose mark on Lexington’s youth was both long-standing and indelible, to others who left the lines of Fayette County to become World Series winners, NBA pros, and more.

Jones noted that all those historic pieces will become part of a brick-and-mortar LAASHOF museum which they will open in the future.

Jones says they made a point of including several inductions from bygone eras in this first class, because they had to break barriers to play and coach the very sports they loved.

“Especially those from the segregated era, they paved the way for some of the people we’re recognizing tonight,” Jones said.

Among those inducted were a 1956 Douglass team which reached the national negro high school basketball championship...and a star-studded 1959 Dunbar basketball team.

“They had All-Americans, people that went on to the pros,” said Jones. “But when they came home, it was like they had never gone. So we wanted to make them feel special.”

While they took the night to hail Lexington’s black sporting history, they also wanted to give back by looking towards its future. Three Lexington student-athletes received LAASHOF scholarships to support their collegiate careers.