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Lockefield Garden Dust Bowl documentary screening and exhibit unveiled ahead of NBA All-Star Weekend

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Once upon a time, players like George McGinnis and Oscar Robertson were not allowed in many stadiums and gymnasiums around Indianapolis. Now, they are being celebrated on the 47th floor of Salesforce Tower in Downtown Indianapolis: an almost perfect prelude to NBA All-Star Weekend in Circle City.

The Dust Bowl, a series of basketball tournaments held at the historical Lockefield Garden on the city’s southwest side, was a meaningful experience for those who remember it. Lockefield Garden was the city’s first set of public housing units, largely occupied by Black residents.

Executive of The City League Austin Taylor welcoming guests and legends to the 47th floor of Salesforce Tower, located in downtown Indianapolis, IN., on February 13, 2024. (Photo/Darnell Scott)

It was a special night for many on Feb. 13, as city officials, basketball legends and executives of color attended “Out of the Gardens: A Dust Bowl Conversation,” held by The City League.

“This is awesome that so many people are here to observe the history,” City League Executive Director Austin Taylor said.

Guests enjoyed a beautiful charcuterie board, beverages, filet sliders and more as they basked in the history of the Dust Bowl.

Wayne Pack, Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member and former Indiana Pacer, was there, educating many on historic photos and exhibits on display.

Pack was joined by 1953 Indiana Mr. Basketball and former Harlem Globetrotter Hallie Bryant, 1975 NBA Champion and Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame member Frank Kendrick, and Indiana University men’s basketball head coach Mike Woodson.

Some of the food available during the Out of the Garden: a Dust Bowl Conversation event atop of Salesforce Tower, located in downtown Indianapolis, IN., on February 13, 2024. (Photo/Darnell Scott)

Prior to his death last December, Indiana Pacers Hall of Famer George McGinnis said that the Dust Bowl was more important than any state championship because more of his peers of color supported the Dust Bowl more than the latter.

Mayor of Indianapolis Joe Hogsett came to support the event, which ensures the legendary story of the Lockefield Gardens Dust Bowl continues to be told.

Bill Hampton also attended the “Out of the Gardens” event. Hampton, an Indiana Basketball Hall of Famer is best known for being a part of the 1955 Crispus Attucks High School state championship run. The champion team, which also included Oscar Robertson, secured a 31-1 record and made Crispus Attucks the first all-Black high school to win a state championship in the nation’s history.

The trophy stood alongside other Indiana basketball memorabilia, such as the Dust Bowl trophy, historical team photos from the 1950s, footwear inspired by Indiana basketball and a signed George McGinnis jersey.

Some of the art and basketball memorabilia on display during the event honoring Indiana hoop legends at the 47th floor of Salesforce Tower, located in downtown Indianapolis, IN., on February 13, 2024. (Photo/Darnell Scott)

“It all started on a simple dirt court, but it ended up impacting sports and society in Indiana and the Hoosier State,” The City League said in a statement.

Contact Senior Sports Writer Noral Parham III at 317-762-7846 or via email at noralp@indyrecorder.com. Follow him on Twitter @3Noral. For more NBA All-Star 2024 news courtesy of the Indianapolis Recorder, click here.

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