Bobby Plump Part 1

I can’t think of another athlete from Indiana who represents the 1950s better than Plump. It’s as if he stepped out of the pages of a Boys Life magazine, or off the screen of a Disney movie.

He’s famous for hitting the game-winning shot in Milan’s state championship victory in 1954, the game that inspired the classic movie “Hoosiers.” But you already knew that. You might not know he also was Indiana’s Mr. Basketball, and went on to become Butler’s all-time leading scorer. He was more than a guy who hit a big shot. He could play.

He’s told the major elements of his story at least 1,954 times, but he always tells it like it’s the first. This conversation, though, ran so long it required two episodes, and was worth every bit of it. Milan’s story goes beyond basketball. The impact it on the rest of the student body, for example, is incredible.

I had met Plump before this, but only casually. He’s one of those people who becomes an instant friend, though, because of his relentlessly cheerful demeanor and generous nature. I picked him up at his insurance office and drove him downtown for the recording. That allowed me to get to know him better, and was a small sacrifice for all the content.

Indiana’s basketball legacy is lucky that he was the one to hit such a historic shot. He represents it well, never tiring of talking about it, but never letting it go to his head.

First aired 2010


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