Kentucky Book Fair Loaded with Stars from Yesteryear

Oct 13, 2011

FRANKFORT - Former basketball and football greats are featured in three books at the 30th annual Kentucky Book Fair on Nov. 12 at the Frankfort Convention Center. Kentucky All-Americans Louie Dampier, in basketball, and Babe Parilli, in football, are expected to be at this year’s KBF held at the Frankfort Convention Center, according to a press release.

Meadowlark Lemon, the “Clown Prince of Basketball” who delighted fans as a member of the famed Harlem Globetrotters, also will be attending the event to sign “Trust Your Next Shot: A Guide to a Life of Joy.”

In his book, Lemon reminiscences about his youth, recalls hilarious stories about his days with the Globetrotters, and provides wise instructions for living a joy-filled life. He was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.

Gary P. West and Lloyd “Pink” Gardner co-authored “Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association: The Real Story of a Team Left Behind.” The Colonels played all nine seasons the ABA was in existence, winning one title and twice finishing runner-up.

Among the standouts who played for the Colonels, addition to Dampier, were Dan Issel, Artis Gilmore, and Darel Carrier. The franchise folded after the 1976 season when the league merged with the National Basketball Association but there are more than enough memories to fill a book about the beloved team.

Dampier, and perhaps other Colonels, is expected to appear at the KBF with West and Gardner.

Dick Burdette, who worked at the Lexington Herald-Leader and other newspapers, is the author of “Kentucky Babe: The Babe Parilli Story.” Vito “Babe” Parilli is one of the greatest football players in University of Kentucky history, earning All-American status at quarterback while playing for the legendary Bear Bryant from 1949-51.

Parilli led the Wildcats to two straight bowl victories, including a 13-7 win over top-ranked Oklahoma in the 1951 Sugar Bowl. He played 16 seasons as a pro that ended with a Super Bowl championship with the New York Jets in 1969. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1982. 

The Kentucky Book Fair will be from 9 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Proceeds benefit public and school libraries and literacy programs across the commonwealth.

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