1963 Loyola Championship Team Goes to White House - NBC Chicago
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1963 Loyola Championship Team Goes to White House



    Members of Loyola's 1963 national championship basketball team are heading to Washington to meet with President Barack Obama.

    The White House says Obama will meet with the team in the Oval Office Thursday afternoon to mark the 50th anniversary of their win as well as the role the team played in breaking racial barriers.

    The team was also honored Wednesday by U.S. Senators Mark Kirk and Dick Durbin along with Rep. Mike Quigley.

    The Ramblers won the 1963 NCAA tournament in an overtime upset, rallying from a 15-point deficit at the half to defeat two-time defending champion Cincinnati. Four of the five starters were black and Loyola was the first team to start four African-American players.

    In the semifinals, Loyola faced Mississippi State, which had to sneak away to play the game because they'd been previously barred from playing integrated teams in the postseason.

    “The Ramblers showed sportsmanship and a commitment to basketball that helped change the game in a time of civil rights activism,” said Sen. Kirk. “I commend the players for breaking down existing barriers to help bring greater equality to this country. The Ramblers' win will go down in history as a milestone for civil rights and an achievement for Illinois basketball.”