Gold Standard: Collis Temple Jr. and sons leave lasting mark on community

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BATON ROUGE, La. (BR Proud) — The name ‘Collis Temple Jr.’ is synonymous with Louisiana State University basketball.

Recruited in 1971 by Pete Maravich, Temple Jr. played the majority of his tenure under men’s head basketball coach Dale Brown, who took over the program in 1972.

Temple Jr. recently expressed a fondness for Brown who was seen encouraging a group of youngsters at the Sports Academy. “I got those kind of pep talks fifty years ago,” Temple Jr. said. “For this gentleman to be able to do that, and transcend the timelines that have gone from me being a sophomore at LSU to currently being able to captivate some young folk today, he’s a special man.”

Temple Jr. was LSU’s first African-American basketball player, breaking the color barrier for years to come. Decades later, two of his three sons would also suit up for the purple and gold. Collis Temple III played for LSU from 1998 to 2003 and Garrett Temple played from 2005 until 2009.

During his time at LSU, Collis Temple III would also make a name for himself in Division I college-athletics. According to multiple reports, he is believed to have been the first student-athlete to complete an undergraduate degree, Master’s degree and begin the pursuit of a Doctorate while still eligible to play athletics.

Garrett Temple, 35, now plays professional basketball. He was sent to the New Orleans Pelicans in a sign-and-trade agreement in early August. The elder Temple also played for the NBA, during the1974-75 season.

Both of the younger Temples credit their parents as having the greatest impact on their lives. “The most influential person in my life,” remarked Garrett Temple, “I would definitely have to say my father. He had a very big influence on my life, as well as my mom.”

Collis Temple Jr. expressed similar sentiments toward his children. “They’ve both been inspiring, all three of my sons have been inspiring, because they have carried on a legacy of responsibility. They have led a quality life. They are special dads to their children. They understand what it means to be responsive to the community at large.”

Today, Temple Jr. serves on the LSU Board of Supervisors which recently selected the university’s first Black president. The elder Temple had the honor of announcing the board’s selection during a public meeting, an emotional moment for all. “When you are engaged in a set of circumstances like I was engaged in at Louisiana State University from 1970 to 2022,” Temple Jr. said, “and you’re able to make an impact and help select the person to be head of the university, that was really a special time for me.”

While the Temple family appears to be rooted in basketball, the men are also grounded off the court as active community members. The family recently took part in BREC’s Hometown Heroes for Youth basketball clinic at The Lester Roberts Sports Academy on Laurel Street. The three hour event provided 5th through 12th graders the chance to interact with former LSU coaches, like John Brady, to current NBA players, like Skylar Mays and many others.

“My father was actually instrumental in helping start the Sports Academy 40 years ago and I grew up playing in the Sports Academy,” said Temple III.

Both sons agree that it is important for younger generations to realize the value of team sport and the support system basketball provides. “Basketball is probably the main team sport where you really have to share the ball,” said Garrett Temple. “Everybody has to be a cohesive unit and that’s how it is in life as well. You should use people, you shouldn’t do life on your own.”

Temple III hopes events, like Hometown Heroes, show youth how much success has come from Baton Rouge. “If they have an aspiration to (play basketball), then they know there are some folks who are around from where they’re from,” said Temple III.

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