Collins Tabbed as Keynote Speaker for 1972 Reunion
June 20, 2012
GEORGETOWN, Ky. - Illinois State basketball legend and current Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doug Collins will be the keynote speaker for the 1972 Olympic basketball reunion banquet, August 25, in Lexington, Ky.
Collins, a starting guard on the 1972 team, will be joining his former teammates two weeks after serving as NBC's basketball analyst for the 2012 Olympic Games in London, England.
"We literally could not have found a more qualified speaker than Doug," said Billy Reed, executive scholar in residence at Georgetown College and founding member of the planning committee. "He offers a unique perspective on what the team experienced in Munich and why it decided to not accept the silver medal. The 1972 team deserves to be remembered."
The Olympics, set in Munich that year, witnessed the first act of terrorism in the modern era with the deaths of 11 Israeli athletes at the hands of Palestinian gunmen. The U.S. team went on to play the Soviets in the gold medal game just days later. In that game, Collins was poised to be the hero, after he made a pair of two shots with three seconds left appeared to seal the gold medal for the U.S.A. However, after two in-bounds plays and timing problems, the Soviets scored on a full-court pass to win at the buzzer.
"That gold medal game is one of the most controversial games in Olympic history," Reed said. "The U.S. team refused to accept the silver medal after being bullied out of the gold. There's a lot to be said about that kind of character, and a lot to be celebrated."
Following the Olympics, Collins returned to Illinois State for his senior season and went on to be named a consensus All-American in 1973. He finished his career as the program's all-time leading scorer (2,240 points) and had his jersey retired after his final home game, becoming the only Redbird to receive that honor. Collins was later drafted as the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA by the Sixers and played for nine seasons in the NBA, with four All-Star game appearances, before he moved into the coaching ranks.
Collins recently took the 76ers to the NBA playoffs for the second-straight season. Before leading the 76ers, Collins was head coach of the Chicago Bulls, Detroit Pistons and Washington Wizards. He was also an Emmy-award winning broadcaster for Turner Network Television and received the Curt Gowdy Media Award from the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2009.
The reunion will take place Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 23-26, in Central Kentucky and will include both public and private events. The capstone event will occur on Saturday, Aug. 25, at the Griffin Gate Marriott. Collins will speak to his teammates and other notables at a public banquet dinner benefiting Georgetown's Academy for Character in Sport.
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