The Birmingham Tip Off Club this week hosted three of the African American players that were on the first SEC [and Alabama] basketball team to start five African Americans during the  - 1973 -74 Alabama Crimson Tide season.

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Per Wikipedia:

"Center Leon Douglas said, "We knew Coach Newton (signed us) because he wanted to win. He wasn't trying to be a trailblazer. You have to respect a man for putting five black starters on the court when others said it was a no-no." On December 28, 1973, in a 65-55 win over the University of Louisville Cardinals, Newton started Douglas, Charles "Boonie" Russell, Charles Cleveland, Dunn and Ray Odums for the first all-black starting line-up in SEC history, and a team that would win the SEC season title."

In attendance in person at the Monday ceremony were guard Odums, center Douglas and forward Russell. Dunn was unable to make it from Charlotte and Cleveland passed away several years ago.


Dunn and Douglas had long NBA careers before getting into coaching. The event was moderated by frequent Inside The Locker Room guest and columnist Kevin Scarbinsky.

In attendance was their then-teammate  Johnny Dill, whose son John later walked on for Alabama basketball when Mark Gottfried was Head Coach.

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