Former Wildcat and Celtic Ramsey loses home

Updated: November 17, 2005, 4:16 PM ET
Associated Press

MADISONVILLE, Ky. -- A lifetime of basketball memories. Gone.

Hall of Fame member Frank Ramsey, a former All-American at Kentucky who went on to play with the Boston Celtics in the 1950s and 1960s, was among those whose homes were destroyed by tornadoes that swept through western Kentucky on Tuesday.

"Had I been sitting watching TV, I would have been gone," Ramsey told The Associated Press on Wednesday. "I don't know if I would have been dead or not, but I certainly would have been swept off."

The 74-year-old Ramsey, whose son called and told him a tornado was heading toward his home Tuesday night, hid in a closet next to a brick fireplace just as the storms approached and electricity was lost.

When the winds died down, the fireplace and closet were all that remained, he said.

Ramsey, who is staying with family members, said his trophies are missing and walls of photos have disappeared. Only one plaque remained from his basketball glory days.

As a freshman at Kentucky, Ramsey played on the 1951 national championship team under Adolph Rupp and also starred on the Wildcats' undefeated 1954 squad that declined a NCAA tournament berth. He is one of only two players in Kentucky's storied basketball history to have received AP All-America honors three times.

He played nine seasons for the Celtics, helping them win seven NBA championships and popularizing the sixth-man role. He later spent one season as the coach of the American Basketball Association's Kentucky Colonels.

Both Kentucky and the Celtics have retired Ramsey's jersey. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1982.

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press