The Real Hoosiers: Crispus Attucks High School, Oscar Robertson, and the Hidden History of Hoops

The Real Hoosiers: Crispus Attucks High School, Oscar Robertson, and the Hidden History of Hoops

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The true story behind Crispus Attucks High School and the all-Black basketball team loosely depicted as the championship opponent in the beloved classic sports movie Hoosiers.


For far too long the mythology of Indiana basketball has been dominated by Hoosiers. Framed as the ultimate underdog, feel-good story, there has also long been a cultural debate surrounding the film. The Real Hoosiers sets out to illuminate the narrative that the film omits, the story of the unheralded Crispus Attucks Tigers, playing the game at the highest level in the 1950s in a racially divided Indiana.


After a crushing loss to Milan High School in the 1954 semifinal, which was the game that the final scenes in Hoosiers are based on, Attucks went on to win back-to-back Indiana state championships. That team was led by a young Oscar Robertson and coached by Ray Crowe, who fully recognized the seemingly insurmountable challenges of playing basketball in a state that was a bastion for not only the game but also the Ku Klux Klan.


Veteran sportswriter and the bestselling author of Dream Team, Jack McCallum, pulls back the curtain on that history, which is rich, far beyond the basketball court. The Real Hoosiers replaces a lacuna in the history of Indiana while dissecting the myths and lore of Hoosier hoops; placing the game in the context of migration, segregation, and integration; and enhancing our understanding of this country's struggle for civil rights.