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October 26, 1934: Basketball Star Rod Hundley Born in Charleston

Hot Rod Hundley
e-wv, The West Virginia Encyclopedia
West Virginia & Regional History Collection

Basketball star Rod Hundley was born in Charleston on October 26, 1934. He was a sensation at Charleston High School, dazzling opponents with his tricks and talent. His flashy style is rarely seen today, outside of the Harlem Globetrotters.

His repertoire included trick shots, a signature behind-the-back dribble, and spinning the ball on his finger—all during games. His flair on the court earned him the nickname the “clown prince of basketball.” But he’ll always be remembered as “Hot Rod.”

Many who watched him play at West Virginia University in the 1950s consider “Hot Rod” Hundley the greatest natural athlete the state ever produced. In 1954, he averaged 34 points a game for WVU’s freshman team and then led the varsity squad to a 72-16 record and three straight Southern Conference titles. Hundley earned first team All-American recognition his senior year.

Hundley played six years in the National Basketball Association for the Lakers and was named an all-star twice. Hundley was a radio announcer for the NBA’s Utah Jazz for 35 years, until his retirement in 2009.

“Hot Rod” Hundley died in 2015 at age 80.

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