Chuck Hughes believes the 1955 Gary Roosevelt and Indianapolis Attucks basketball teams have been kicked aside like an old pair of shoes.
The executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce hopes to correct that oversight at this weekend's annual Lakeshore Classic, a series of high school and college games at the Genesis Convention Center.
Highlighting the two-day event is a tribute to members of the '55 Roosevelt and Attucks teams.
"They consider themselves forgotten Hoosiers," said Hughes, noting the two teams battled a year after tiny Milan won state and had the 1988 motion picture "Hoosiers" based on its David-versus-Goliath theme.
Roosevelt and Attucks had made national history, but were basically ignored until Hughes stepped up.
"There's six surviving members of Attucks' championship team and five for Roosevelt," Hughes noted. "Man, this is a now-or-never event and that's why they're so blown away.
"They thought they were totally forgotten."
Attucks, led by junior Oscar Robertson, beat Dick Barnett's Roosevelt Panthers, 97-74, at Butler's Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Both went on to have legendary NBA careers.
Robertson and Barnett will speak at today's corporate luncheon at Genesis Convention Center in Gary. TNT plans to cover the entire Lakeshore Classic for a "feature" to air during the NBA season.
Barnett starred on the New York Knicks' only two NBA championship teams (1970, '73) and is a professor and author.
"It's a good learning tool," he said of the Roosevelt-Attucks angle. "Youngsters today think of 'history' as when their lives began."
It saddens Barnett that Gary's youth has no clue as to the significance of that 1955 game.
"At this point, it's unforgivable with the Internet being available," Barnett said. "It's not only the coaches' responsibility to talk about their (sports) history, but the schools during their orientation sessions."
This weekend is a step in the right direction.