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Alexander Wolff
November 20, 1989
From 1971 to 1984, no major college scoring champ made the grade in the NBA
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November 20, 1989

The Lost Generation

From 1971 to 1984, no major college scoring champ made the grade in the NBA

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Dial 233-beer in lafayette, la., and you're put on hold. You're serenaded by Anheuser-Busch jingles, and then Dwight (Bo) Lamar's secretary comes on the line to tell you that he's out, but can she take a message? Please ask Mr. Lamar to call back, you say. Collect.

And he does call, happy to talk about how in 1972 he led the nation in scoring at Southwestern Louisiana. "It just happened," he says. "The way the offense was designed, we put the ball up a lot. It wasn't just me."

He scored the most. His senior year the crowd sang Dwight Lamar, Superstar while the band played Jesus Christ, Superstar before Ragin' Cajun home games. Faintly blasphemous, that. But USL was one of the original outlaw schools, and Lamar's dandified style—the domed Afro; the zippered purse he toted around (a "pouch," he insisted); the purple leather jacket his wife, Peggy, first espied him in at a fraternity party—gave him the look of a Cajun capo.

Time has tempered him. Nostalgia often makes former players exaggerate, but Bo does his reminiscing skeptically. What of the legendary defender who, bamboozled by a Lamar 360, ran straight to the locker room? "That never actually happened," Lamar says. Nor were the parabolic jumpers he threw in really 30-footers: "I still don't know anybody who can shoot a jumper consistently from 30 feet. Even 25 feet."

He had three prosperous seasons in the ABA—with the San Diego Conquistadors and the Indiana Pacers—but faded in 1976. "I tried for a couple of years after that, and then it was either keep chasing that dream or settle down and start another career," he says. "Very few people get to play pro ball, so I'm fortunate that I did for so long. And there's a lot more to life than that."

Back in the bayou country, he tried working in recreation, then insurance and then the oil business, which is Lafayette's lifeblood. Seven years ago he hooked on with the Schilling Distributing Company, delivering cases of beer. Today, a couple of r�sum� rungs later, he is a sales manager.

Not long ago Lamar's youngest daughter, Sherolyn, 13, sized up her father. "They say if you can 'pinch an inch,' you're overweight," she said. "And Daddy, I can pinch a mile."

That got Bo, now 38, playing ball again, for the beer company's team in a local rec league. He doesn't score much, just forces the pace to a tempo an Agin' Cajun would find comfortable. "Some of the guys are as young as 18 or 19," he says, "but I push 'em hard enough."

He's not a gabber, but talking is a big part of Lamar's life now, especially chatting up clients. Questions clearly aren't an imposition. "Enjoyed talking with you," he says as the conversation winds down. "In fact, enjoyed it so much, I might even pay for the call next time."

During two seasons ('81 to '83) of running and gunning for Texas Southern, Harry (Machine Gun) Kelly led all scorers in the land. "Ah, Harry Kelly," said Marty Blake, the NBA's director of scouting services. "To paraphrase Will Rogers, he never met a shot he didn't like."

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