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Scott Swan sees Hoosier basketball history at Lockefield Gardens

In Lockefield Gardens, the first segregated housing development in Indianapolis, NBA players often faced off against neighborhood players.

INDIANAPOLIS — Ever since I moved to Indiana in 1996, I have been fascinated with the state's storied basketball history.

Recently, tour guide Sampson Levingston took me to one of the most interesting places in Indianapolis basketball history: Lockefield Gardens.

Sampson talked about the hoops culture that existed in this Black neighborhood. He discussed the days of a dusty basketball court that existed in the 1940s, when Lockefield Gardens was the first segregated housing development in Indianapolis.

The "Dust Bowl" was a familiar court for Indiana legends like Oscar Robertson and Bill Garrett. Sampson told me NBA players would often play against players from the neighborhood.

As Sampson described it, basketball is the universal language in Indiana. If you can play, you can play — even on a dusty basketball court.

This was just one stop on WTHR's Black history tour of Indianapolis. Tour guide Sampson Levingston led our anchor team around the city to teach them about the many historic sites that played integral roles in Indianapolis' Black community. Follow along through the month of February to learn about them. Click here to see the other tour stops.

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