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Basketball Man Derek E. Smith.

Basketball Man

Field review by the editors.

Louisville, Kentucky

Derek Ervin Smith was a college basketball hero in Louisville, helping his team to win the 1980 national championship. In some histories, he's also credited at this time with creating the "high-five" hand slap.

Smith went on to a successful NBA career -- but by 1996 he was 34 years old and retired. In August he traveled with his family on a cruise, hosting on-board basketball clinics for his employer, the Washington Bullets.

During a farewell cocktail party, Smith suffered a massive heart attack and died.

The Bullets team attended Smith's funeral, and eventually his son, Nolan, helped to win a national basketball championship for his college team, as his father had done 30 years earlier. But Smith's most enduring legacy -- aside from the high-five -- will probably be his tombstone, which features a life-size likeness of the basketball star, who stood six foot six inches tall.

Also see: Cave Hill Cemetery

Basketball Man

Cave Hill Cemetery

701 Baxter Ave., Louisville, KY
From the Cave Hill Cemetery main entrance, at the corner of Baxter Ave. and E. Broadway, follow the road with the solid line into the cemetery for a little over a mile. When the lined road veers sharply left, continue straight into Sections 38/39. Drive another third of a mile. After the road loops completely around to left, look to the right. You'll see the Basketball tombstone.
Daily 8-4:45. Gated after hours. (Call to verify) Local health policies may affect hours and access.
Save to My Sights

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