LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) – The red carpet was rolled out and the lights shone as 22 of Lexington’s most influential sports figures and sports teams were recognized by the Lexington African American Sports Hall of Fame ( LAASHOF).
“We grew up hearing these names, these legends that we honor 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 longstanding and indelible, to others who left Fayette County lines to become victors from the World Series, NBA pros, and more.
Jones noted that all of these historic pieces will be part of a brick-and-mortar LAASHOF museum they will open in the future.
Jones says they were keen to include several inductions from bygone eras in this premier class because they had to break down barriers to play and coach the sports they loved.
“Especially those from the age of segregation, they paved the way for some of the people we recognize tonight,” Jones said.
Among those inducted were a 1956 Douglass team that reached the National Black High School Basketball Championship…and a star-studded 1959 Dunbar basketball team.
“They had All-Americans, people who went pro,” Jones said. “But when they came home it was like they never left. So we wanted them to feel special.
While they took the night off to salute Lexington’s black sports history, they also wanted to give back by looking towards its future. Three Lexington student-athletes have received LAASHOF scholarships to support their college careers.
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