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David Lattin

Professional athlete and entrepreneur, David Lattin was born on December 23, 1943 in Houston Texas. His mother, Elsie Lattin, was widowed when Lattin’s father died in 1949. Lattin attended elementary and secondary schools in Houston before graduating from Evan E. Worthing Senior High School in 1963. Lattin was named All-State and All-American both his junior and senior years and was the first Texas player to be named to a High School All-American team.

Lattin left Tennessee State in 1964 citing the lack of basketball competition. He returned to Houston and played the AAAU before receiving a full scholarship to attend Texas Western College in 1965 where he played with the Miners, a Division 1 team in the NCAA. Under the leadership of Coach Don Haskins, the Miners won the 1966 Division 1 NCAA National Championship with five black starting players. Lattin was named All-American during the 1966 and 1967 seasons.

In 1967, Lattin left Texas Western College after he was drafted as the number one pick by the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors. He went on to play with the Phoenix Suns, the Pittsburgh Condors, and the Memphis Tams, ending his professional career with the Harlem Globe Trotters from 1973 to 1976. Returning to school, Lattin earned his B.S. degree in business administration and started several successful business ventures including Your Maison Housing.

Lattin was inducted into the Texas Black Sports Hall of Fame and the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007. That year, he also wrote Slam Dunk to Glory.

Lattin has a son Clifton, a daughter Leslie, and several grandchildren.

David Lattin was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 11, 2010.

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Blackshear Elementary School

William E. Miller Junior High School

Evan E. Worthing Senior High School

University of Texas at El Paso

Tennessee State University

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Favorite Vacation Destination

Mexico, Hawaii

Favorite Quote

The Judge.

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Short Description

Corporate foundation executive and basketball player David Lattin (1943 - ) was part of the historic Texas Western College team that was the first to start an all-black lineup at the NCAA championship. He went on to play for professional teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Harlem Globetrotters.


Golden State Warriors

Phoenix Suns

Memphis Tams

Harlem Globetrotters International

Republic National Distributing Company

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Timing Pairs

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of David Lattin's interview</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 2 - David Lattin lists his favorites</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 3 - David Lattin describes his mother's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his father's family background</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 5 - David Lattin describes his earliest childhood memory</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 6 - David Lattin recalls his childhood activities</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 7 - David Lattin remembers his community in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 8 - David Lattin recalls his involvement with the Boy Scouts and YMCA</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 9 - David Lattin describes his experiences at Blackshear Elementary School in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 10 - David Lattin describes the sights, sounds and smells of his childhood</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 11 - David Lattin describes his junior high school experiences</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 12 - David Lattin describes his early success as a basketball player</a>

<a href="">Tape: 1 Story: 13 - David Lattin remembers his first basketball</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 1 - David Lattin remembers learning to swim</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 2 - David Lattin describes his college scholarship offers</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 3 - David Lattin remembers his mentor, Lloyd C.A. Wells</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his senior year at Evan E. Worthing High School in Houston, Texas</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 5 - David Lattin recalls his experiences at Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 6 - David Lattin describes his first impressions of the Texas Western College of the University of Texas</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 7 - David Lattin describes the basketball team at Texas Western College of the University of Texas</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 8 - David Lattin remembers Coach Don Haskins</a>

<a href="">Tape: 2 Story: 9 - David Lattin talks about his transition to college basketball</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 1 - David Lattin recalls the first game in the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 2 - David Lattin talks about the NCAA final game against the University of Kentucky</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 3 - David Lattin remembers Coach Adolph Rupp</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes the final game of the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 5 - David Lattin recalls his preparation for the NCAA finals</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 6 - David Lattin talks about slam dunking</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 7 - David Lattin recalls winning the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 8 - David Lattin describes the aftermath of his victory at the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament</a>

<a href="">Tape: 3 Story: 9 - David Lattin recalls being drafted by the Golden State Warriors</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 1 - David Lattin describes his professional basketball career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 2 - David Lattin talks about his children and business career</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 3 - David Lattin shares his opinion on student athletes' compensation</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 4 - David Lattin describes his mentorship efforts</a>

<a href="">Tape: 4 Story: 5 - David Lattin reflects upon his legacy and message to future generations</a>







David Lattin describes his early success as a basketball player
David Lattin describes the final game of the 1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament
Now you, you said very quickly about how, how you built up your stamina, stamina to be able to, to play the following year during that summer that you grew. Can you tell me again, you, you said you rode your bike to--$$Rice Stadium [Houston, Texas].$$Rice Stadium, okay--$$Right.$$--and what did you do?$$Ran seventeen hundred stairs a day in the sun at about two o'clock in the afternoon. I knew nothing about nutrition. I don't know why I didn't pass out (laughter).$$Okay, so you, you were ready once you got to the new school?$$Yeah, because it was--and actually even though I was running the stairs I was playing basketball as well, so I was getting my skills together and I was getting stronger and then I found out I could jump and then the rest is history.$$Okay, so now, what high school do you go to?$$I went to Worthing [Evan E. Worthing High School, Houston, Texas], Attucks [Crispus Attucks Junior High School; Crispus Attucks Middle School, Houston, Texas] first and then--Attucks was Worthing and then they built another, a bigger high school, senior high school and that was Worthing, so I left Attucks and went to Worthing.$$And tell my about the experience there?$$At Worthing?$$Um-hm.$$It was a good experience for me because in the eleventh grade, when I got to the eleventh grade then I was high school All-American and I was the first high school All-American from the State of Texas in basketball at that level and so things started to really happen for me after that because the day that I was All-American, yeah, I got to tell you this story. They was announcing that I was All-American, the principal announced on the PA system that, you know, "We have an All-American in our school in basketball and it's Big D [HistoryMaker David Lattin]" and all that stuff you know, so everybody was--had a great time with that and so I got home that afternoon and somebody had called my mom [Elsie Boyd Davis] and gave her this pitch about I was the high school All-American, so I had my feet propped up on the coffee table and she walked in the door, she said--I'll never forget this, this is funny, she said, "Okay, Mr. High School All, All-American, it's okay that you are high school All-American, but get your foot off my coffee table." I said, "Yes ma'am, yes ma'am, yes ma'am." (Laughter), "You still can't put your foot on my coffee table."$$Your mother, was she very supportive? Did she come to your games?$$My mother never saw me play but once when I was playing for the Globetrotters [Harlem Globetrotters]. If I told my mother that--she couldn't tell you what a rebound was. She knew nothing about the game, didn't really care. All she cared about was that I was having fun and I was happy, so she knew nothing about the game at all.$$Did your grades get better?$$My grades did improve. There was a teacher by the name of Ms. Douglas [ph.] in high school and she was an English teacher and she was quite serious about making good grades, about everybody making good grades, so she would stay back and make sure that all the athletes, not just me, but other athletes as well, if they weren't studying like they were suppose to then she would make sure that, that they got their homework together before they left school. And actually she would stay until after basketball practice was over and we would go down in her room and she would, she would work with everybody, make sure that everybody got their grades together; because it was very stressful going to school, being an athlete and then having to--and the last thing you felt like doing was studying after practice, so you know, it's very difficult. The athletes have to, have to, they have to compete in the classroom the same, just like everybody else, there's no excuse.$$Were there rules in place that said that athletes had to have a certain average?$$No, there was, there were no rules in place that they had to, but everyone was aware that they, that that's this was what they needed to do. I mean, the guy--the kids were not like the kids are now, you know, you could talk to us, you know. If somebody said something that made sense, I mean, most, most of us would listen, so, it's nothing like it is now.$With all the publicity about you and, and your team, to keep you from not being so cocky you said that the, the coach [Don Haskins] would make you work a little harder, but did you begin to see that it wasn't this tournament [1966 NCAA University Division Basketball Tournament] and the players--it wasn't just about you and basketball, but that there was a bigger picture?$$Oh absolutely and of course, in the beginning we were just playing basketball, but you know, later in life, you know, the next year for instance--right after the game no reporters came to our locker room to talk to us. Nobody brought--put mics in front of our face to, to get an interview or anything. And so you know never--we didn't think about it that much, you know, we just were anxious to get back to El Paso [Texas] where everybody--we had a lot of love there, in El Paso. It's just that the newspaper guys were stunned, you know, they didn't know what to write after the game because, you know, they thought it was going to be a walk over. They didn't know what to say, you know, this team with five African American players on, on the court beat all white Kentucky [University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky]--it was impossible, can't happen. They really did not know what to say or what to write. They were just, they were just stunned and, and no one after the game mentioned anything about five African American players had defeated all the white boys at Kentucky, nobody talked about that, not until next year when it really, when it really hit home and Sports Illustrated wrote articles and started writing and stuff about all of the, the African American players that had beat all white Kentucky, that's when it really, really, really hit home. No one said anything in the beginning because it took a while to catch on to what had happened.$$This, this--well, walk me through when you got off the bus to play this, this game, I mean, this, this changes history for the N- NCAA [National Collegiate Athletic Association]? Describe for me that game.$$You know, getting off the bus, first of all, we're living in a hotel where the Duke team [Duke University, Durham, North Carolina] and all its supporters stayed in the same hotel as we did. We didn't have hardly anybody there, just Bobby Joe Hill's brother and sister and a few others from Detroit [Michigan]. And they had "Go Duke" all over the place, I mean, I mean we couldn't hardly even walk out of the door, everything was Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, Duke, not, nothing for Texas Western [Texas Western College of the University of Texas; University of Texas at El Paso, El Paso, Texas]. We didn't have not one little sign, not anything. So the bus driver, I told the story about the bus driver, the bus driver in my book ['Slam Dunk to Glory,' David Lattin], where I was the last one to get off the bus, you know, I'm always the last one to get off the bus. I would get--I was getting--I was disembarking and the bus driver said to me, "Why are you playing this game? Why are you wasting your time? You cannot beat Kentucky. You cannot beat them. They've got a white coach and that's Adolph Rupp. You, you African American guys think you can beat Kentucky? You're out of your mind, are you crazy? Why don't you just get back on the bus and let me take you back to the hotel and just forget about this game." (Laughter) So anyway, I didn't say anything, I just looked at the guy, you know, and proceeded on to the, to the game. I saw him after the game; he didn't say anything he just kind of looked straight ahead.$$So how it--because you said that everything, there was no signs and you had very few supporters there. What was it like walking out onto the court?$$Wow, you know, with the Confederate flags flying all over the place and you know, all the signs you know, just, you know, some of the things that I can't tell you that were said (laughter), "We got them by the toe now, they can't get away, it's all over." (Laughter) But it was, it wasn't intimidating for me. I never felt for one second that we were going to lose. I was hoping, I was hoping that I could stay in the game, you know, because, because the referees can control the game because they can just call fouls at random and control the game if they need to. This was a final game with every, every, with everyone looking, so I guess they called, called it as close to being right as they could. I had four fouls anyway, but that's as close as it could be.$$So you felt that the refs were more or less true to form?$$I thought as, as well as they could be. I, I, I mean there were fouls--the first foul against Pat Riley was not a foul, you know, and if you look at the tape over and over, and over, Pat--I talked to Pat about it--he said, "No man, it was a foul," you know, but still again I had to live with that. So I had to be very careful that I would--couldn't, couldn't foul out of the game. I had to be very, very careful. There were things I just couldn't do, I mean the coach had complained about the--about me, and the game and, and I talk about that in the book a little bit. The night before some of the games the coaches complained that they couldn't let me get away with some of the things I was doing, you know and I wasn't really doing anything, but just working harder under the basket doing what I do, you know, and that's about it, but--