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Dec. 6, 2017

 

When the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame inducts its 2017 class of
honorees, it will include William (Bill) Hampton, a member of the historic 1955
Indiana State Champion Crispus Attucks High School Basketball Team.

 

As a senior starting guard in 1955, Hampton was a key contributor to what is considered to be one of
the greatest basketball teams in William (Bill) Hampton Indiana’s history. During this time of racial
divide, Hampton and his Attucks teammates became the first all-black team in
the nation to win an open state tournament.

 

“(That
championship) meant a great deal because it was nothing that you would ever
envision would happen, first of all,” said Hampton. “You just played basketball
for the love of the game. But it also meant a great deal because it meant so
much to the people in the neighborhoods that followed you, that followed
Crispus Attucks. We didn’t have a lot to hang our hats on back then, unless it
was Joe Louis fighting, Jackie Robinson playing, or later Muhammad Ali boxing.”

 

Hampton earned all-sectional, all-regional and all-state honors during
this championship run and went on to become an all-conference player at Indiana
Central College (now the University of Indianapolis). Following his college
playing days, Hampton was employed with the Marion County Sheriff’s Office,
became a regional insurance manager, and owned his own janitorial service
before retiring. He still resides in Indianapolis.

 

Hampton is one of 12 basketball players in the 2017 induction class. Being
recognized individually is an honor for him.

 

“One of the most
important things to me is what it’s going to mean to my kids and to my
grandkids, because you want to leave that legacy behind,” said Hampton.
“Basketball is a team sport and for you to be recognized as an individual for
any team sport, that’s a plus. It’s one of those things that means a great deal
because it didn’t look like it was ever going to happen, to be honest with you.
But the fact that it is happening is very rewarding, and I’m humbled by it.”

 

The Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, located in New Castle, requires
players to be 26 years removed from their high school graduating class before
becoming eligible. It has been a long time coming for Hampton, who will be
joining his Attucks teammates Oscar Robertson, Willie Merriweather and Bill
Scott in the Hall of Fame, along with their coach Ray Crowe.

 

The Hall of Fame induction will take place on Wednesday, March 22, 2017.