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    1966 NCAA Basketball Championship Watch Presented to Texas Western Miners Jerry Armstrong. Only one year earlier, Martin Luther King, Jr.'s march on Selma, Alabama in support of voting rights for the African-American populace was repelled with tear gas, whips and clubs as Jim Crow fought violently against its impending and welcome demise. And yet here, on college basketball's greatest stage, five young black ballplayers were taking the court to meet the all-white powerhouse University of Kentucky Wildcats. Those forty minutes of basketball would generate 40,000 pieces of hate mail for Texas Western coach Don Haskins, and more than a dozen threats upon his life. It would also immortalize the team from a cash-strapped school in El Paso, Texas, and continue the work of Jesse Owens, Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson in reshaping the way the world viewed the black athlete.

    Jerry Armstrong was the biggest white player on the racially integrated team, both in physical stature and ability, a defensive specialist favored by Haskins as muscle to counter physical post play. But the team that stood between the Miners and a National Championship on March 16, 1966 was one built for speed, a heavily-favored Kentucky squad playfully nicknamed "Rupp's Runts" for the diminutive size of the players fielded by Hall of Fame coach Adolph Rupp. Haskins would later insist, as would the members of his team, that the decision to field an entirely African-American was due entirely to those players' ability to run with the Runts, with no thought whatsoever to the historical implications of the strategy.

    So while Armstrong was inactive for the Miners' Cinderella story, the notable player still received the offered Bulova watch for his contributions during the team's magical season. Accompanied by a letter of provenance from Armstrong himself, the EX showpiece features a 10 karat gold case, and it remains in perfectly working order. Superb memento from one of college basketball's most storied programs. Letter of provenance from Jerry Armstrong.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    August, 2017
    19th-20th Saturday-Sunday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 8
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