Kentucky Wildcats to be inducted into Lexington African-American Sports Hall of Fame
LEXINGTON, Kentucky (September 20, 2022) — Two former University of Kentucky Wildcats and Lexington natives, Jack Givens and James Lee, will be inducted into the 2022 Lexington African American Sports Hall of Fame (LAASHOF). Givens and Lee played side by side during their time in the men’s basketball program and helped lead their team to victory in more than one way.
Givens and Lee were among the first players to enter Britain’s basketball program in the 1970s. Although their journey was filled with many hardships, the perseverance and dedication they showed helped pave the way. to other black basketball players after them to honor Rupp Arena as Kentucky legends.
The 2022 inductees were nominated by the public and hand-selected by LAASHOF’s founding members. Givens and Lee are recognized for their contributions to the University of Kentucky basketball program during the early years of integration.
Donations of Jack “Goose”
Givens, a graduate of Bryan Station High School, was a member of the United Kingdom men’s basketball team from 1975 to 1978. While at the University of Kentucky, he was a three-time All-SEC player and was named 1978 NCAA Final Four Most Outstanding Players. During that season, Givens led the team to the national championship and scored 41 points in the win over Duke. He was Kentucky’s first African-American All-American and is still the third-leading scorer in program history. Givens then began his career as a professional basketball player for the Atlanta Hawks and later as a sportscaster.
Lee, a graduate of Henry Clay High School, played for the Wildcats from 1974 to 1978. He was a key player for four years. Appearing in 116 games and scoring 996 total points with a 56% shooting average, he played as the sixth man on the 1978 National Championship team. Lee was named an All-SEC player for the 1977 season- 1978. He was then drafted by the Seattle SuperSonics and soon after continued his professional basketball career in the Continental Basketball Association until 1983.
The two new inductees, along with 20 others, will be honored at an induction ceremony hosted by LAASHOF to be held on September 24, 2022 at the Central Bank Center in downtown Lexington.
LAASHOF’s induction ceremony and red carpet gala will include a first-class dining experience, cocktail reception, live entertainment and other activities.
During the event, Gerald Smith, a nationally recognized British history professor, will deliver a keynote address on the impact of African Americans on Lexington’s historic sporting culture, dating back to the age of segregation..
LAASHOF is a non-profit organization that strives to commemorate local African American sports heroes who have made an impact in our community. You can find out more about the organization here.