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Gary native Glenn Robinson inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame
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Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame

Gary native Glenn Robinson inducted into Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame


INDIANAPOLIS -- The back of Glenn Robinson's basketball card is full, hardly a line of space to add anything more.

In 1991 the kid known as "Big Dog" led Roosevelt to the state championship. He was named Indiana's Mr. Basketball shortly thereafter.

He took his game to Purdue and set more scoring records in two years that most, leading the Boilermakers to the Elite Eight in 1994.

He was the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft that year and embarked on an 11-year career in "The Show." That was capped off by winning a World Championship in 2005 with the San Antonio Spurs.

But on Wednesday night in Indianapolis, the back of the ball card added anothr accolade as the Gary native was inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

"This means a lot, it's right at the top of everything I've ever done in the game," Robinson said, showing emotion in the magnitude of the moment. "It's an honor to be in the same conversation as these guys. It's a great accomplishment."

Only nine members of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame were inducted in their first year of eligibility, which is 26 years after their high school graduation. And the list is a Mount Rushmore of Hoosier Hysteria -- Steve Alford, Damon Bailey, Kent Benson, Larry Bird, Dave Colescott, Kyle Macy, George McGinnis, Rick Mount and Oscar Robertson.

But after Wednesday night's banquet at Primo Banquet Hall in Indianapolis, two more were added.

Robinson and long-time rival Alan Henderson. Robinson's Roosevelt team beat Henderson's Indianapolis Brebeuf team in the 1991 state championship game, then Robinson surprised many by jumping past Henderson in the Mr. Basketball vote.

The two battled against each other in college, with Robinson's Purdue team and Henderson's Indiana team. Both played 10-plus years in the NBA.

"History just keeps bringing us together," Robinson said. "We've always been everywhere together. The state game. McDonald's All-American game. The Indiana-Kentucky games. College then the NBA. It's great that we're coming back together one more time like this."

Three other Indiana Hoosiers were honored with induction. Muncie North's Phil Isenbarger, Lawrence Central's Steve Risley and Dale's Bob Reinhart. Purdue's Matt Waddell of Tipton was also inducted.

Also inducted into the Class of 2017 were Crispus Attucks' Bill Hampton, Sheridan's Dave Sanders, Mississinewa's Herb McPherson, North Dearborn's Jim Lyttle, Patricksburg's Al Tucker and Washington's Edward “Jingles” Engelhart.

Robinson laughed before the event began because each new member was given three minutes to speak to the packed banquet hall. He said it would take him almost an hour to thank everyone who has had an impact in his life. But former Roosevelt coach Ron Heflin, Purdue coach Gene Keady and some of his AAU coaches were at the top of the long list.

"Those guys gave me a foundation to build upon," Robinson said. "Coach Heflin gave me my first shot. He allowed me to play varsity basketball at Roosevelt and I can never thank him enough for that."

Heflin, also a member of the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame, died in 2015.

"He was a great man," Robinson said. "I will always remember him."

Robinson's son, Glenn Robinson III, could not attend the affair because the Indiana Pacers had a game. His son, Gelen Robinson, arrived late because of football practice at Purdue. His daughter, Jamie Robinson, a senior at Homewood-Flossmoor, also attended. She is an all-American in the triple jump and committed to Alabama on a track scholarship.

"GR3 won the slam dunk contest and that was great, but he can't jump like Jamie," Robinson said with a smile. "It's great that some of my family and friends from Gary were able to make it.

"It just a great honor to be selected to the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame. This game means so much here."


Sports Reporter

Steve has won awards during two different stints at The Times. In addition to being the Prep Beat columnist, he covers football, boys basketball and boys track. He is a long-suffering Cubs fan.

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