Sometimes in sports, championship teams are forgotten and fade into history. These teams are normally victims of circumstances beyond their control.
Perhaps the most famous car chase in American history overshadowed the 1994 NBA finals, which saw the Houston Rockets win the championship--the OJ Simpson car chase. Rockets fans remember winning that title, but the rest of the country remembers where they were when that white Bronco was involved in a low speed chase down a California highway.
Right here in Jackson, a great basketball team has never received the acclaim it deserved. The 1964-65 Lanier boys' basketball team should be considered one of the best in this state's history, but segregation robbed them of their glory.
The Bulldogs finished the 1964-65 season undefeated at 43-0 while scoring an average of 102 points per game and winning their games by an average of 40 points. Team member Orsmond Jordan went on to be elected into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame.
Lanier won a national championship after defeating a team from Virginia in a post-season tournament in Montgomery, Ala. The Bulldogs were so good that future NBA player Cornell Warner came off the bench.
Warner played college basketball at Jackson State before being selected by the Boston Braves (now the Los Angeles Clippers) in the second round of the 1970 NBA Draft. He went on to play seven seasons for four NBA teams.
After the team won their national championship, The Clarion-Ledger devoted just four paragraphs to the Lanier team, and no television station covered the Bulldogs' feat. Lanier had no money for championship rings or jackets, so the players only had their memories of their feat to pass on to others.
Although a team might be forgotten, it doesn't mean it has to stay that way.
On Jan. 23, 2013, the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame will host the surviving members of the 64-65 Lanier basketball team. The team members will finally receive their championship rings and jackets that are long overdue.
The team photo will go up on the museum's Wall of National Champions, which features other Mississippi teams that have won national championships. The hall, along with WLBT, has partnered with title sponsor Barksdale Cadillac and others to finally give these athletes the honor they deserve. Other presenting sponsors for the Lanier banquet include Joe Usry Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Phil Moore Buick GMC and Morrow Collections.
The Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame will announce ticket and table sponsorship information soon.