Thanks to CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) – Members of Loyola University’s 1963 national champion basketball team will meet President Barack Obama in the Oval Office, 50 years after they helped break down racial barriers.This relatively quiet event lacked a lot of the drama that we've come to expect in all matters involving race. Nonetheless, the effects of this milestone were profound, far reaching, and dramatic . . . Amazing that such a noble turn of events could come to pass in a country SO full of racists! <--- sarcasm
WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports the 1963 Loyola Ramblers made history not only for rallying from a 15-point deficit to beat defending champion Cincinnati for the NCAA title; they were the first team to start four African-American players
On their way to the title, they faced Mississippi State in the semifinals, after that team had to sneak away in the middle of the night, because Mississippi Gov. Ross Barnett, a staunch segregationist, wanted to prevent them from playing against an integrated team.
The Mississippi State Maroons and Loyola Ramblers ended up playing at Michigan State’s stadium.
“This is a real part of American history, and these guys lived it, and battled, and really stood up to some of these awful, awful things, and they still have a smile on their face,” said Loyola senior associate athletics director Pat Kraft. “They keep saying ‘we were just playing a basketball game.’”
Their matchup with Mississipi State came to be known as “The Game of Change,” and paved the way for Texas Western’s historic win over Kentucky in 1966, when Texas Western was the first team to start five black players. Texas Western beat Kentucky’s all-white team for the 1966 NCAA title.
Though not perfect, maybe America really IS basically a good and moral nation. We reflect on this ground breaking basketball team and, though it's not generally politically correct to do so, we celebrate how far we've come.
|1963 NCAA Champion Loyola University Ramblers|