BATON ROUGE - A packed room at the L'Auberge Resort listened intently as legendary Hall of Fame star Bob Pettit made a rare speaking appearance at the monthly LSU "Tip-off Luncheon With Coach Johnny Jones sponsored by Hub International."
Pettit was one of several former LSU basketball players in attendance ranging from the 1940s to the 1980s including members of the 1953 team that went to what is now commonly known as the NCAA Final Four 60 years ago and the newest inductee into College Basketball's Hall of Fame, Joe Dean.
The 1953 team will be honored at the Feb. 16 nationally-televised home game with Mississippi State.
Talking about a part of the 1953 seasons when he was sick and missed five games, Pettit joked, "They really missed me. They won all five of them."
Pettit talked briefly when asked about his NBA career and his championship with the St. Louis Hawks over the Boston Celtics but through his talk his love of Louisiana and especially LSU and LSU basketball came through loud and clear. "Living in Louisiana, you can't go anywhere without running into someone from Louisiana."
He concluded his remarks to a loud ovation saying "I'm excited about LSU basketball again."
Coach Jones saluted all the former players in attendance talking about the tradition of the program and where he hopes his program goes in the future.
The Tigers host Vanderbilt Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center. The final basketball tipoff luncheon is set for March 5.