October 31,1941 - Oct. 12, 2022 Beaumont, Texas
Lucious B. "Luke" Jackson was a week away from his 23nd birthday on Oct. 23, 1964 when he and his United States basketball teammates won the world championship in the XVIII Olympic games in Tokyo, beating the Soviet Union team, 73-59. In Jackson's Olympic era, there was no "Dream Team" of NBA stars. His teammates were all college kids, many of whom rose to NBA fame.
While in high school, Jackson lived with the principal of Morehouse High School where he participated in multiple sports and ultimately earned a scholarship to Texas Southern University. He stayed just one year and transferred to Pan American, a small school, but "exactly what he needed" to shine as a player. Critics mocked his selection for the Olympic team, but in the gold medal game, he led American scorers with 17 points. There were NBA team owners and scouts at courtside in Tokyo and the Philadelphia 76ers signed Jackson to his contract right after he got his gold medal.
He joined the team in Cincinnati where the Sixers were playing the Royals. The next night, they were back in Philadelphia and Jackson suited up. By the next week, he was a starter. In the 1966-67 season, the Sixers knocked off the perennial champs, the Boston Celtics, so Jackson has an NBA championship to go along with his Olympic gold. That year, the 76ers surged to a 68-13 record. That team is considered one of the NBA's best ever.
His wife of 47 years, Marva, was from Beaumont, and had met Jackson when they were at Texas Southern. When his NBA playing career ended after the 1972 season, they moved to Beaumont with their three children, where Jackson would eventually become the Director of Parks and Recreation for the city.
Alt-Rock group Luscious Jackson is named after Jackson. Wilt Chamberlain claimed Luke was the second strongest player he ever met-reserving the strongest player moniker for himself.