Ralph Beard

Ralph Milton Beard Jr. (December 2, 1927 – November 29, 2007) was an American collegiate and professional basketball player.[1][2] He won two NCAA national basketball championships at the University of Kentucky and played two years in the National Basketball Association prior to being barred for life for his participation in the 1951 point shaving scandal.[3]

Ralph Beard
Ralph Beard.jpg
Personal information
Born(1927-12-02)December 2, 1927
Hardinsburg, Kentucky
DiedNovember 29, 2007(2007-11-29) (aged 79)
Louisville, Kentucky
Listed height5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Listed weight175 lb (79 kg)
Career information
High schoolLouisville Male
(Louisville, Kentucky)
CollegeKentucky (1945–1949)
BAA draft1949 / Round: 2
Selected by the Chicago Stags
Playing career1949–1951
Career history
19491951Indianapolis Olympians
Career highlights and awards
Career statistics
Points2,006 (15.9 ppg)
Rebounds251 (3.8 rpg)
Assists551 (4.4 apg)
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at NBA.com
Stats Edit this at Wikidata at Basketball-Reference.com

Early lifeEdit

Beard was born in Hardinsburg, Kentucky. Beard grew up in Louisville and attended Louisville Male High School. He later cited the family's finances as a reason he took money from gamblers. His mother worked as a cleaning lady after his father left the family. [4]

College careerEdit

He was a member of Adolph Rupp's "Fabulous Five" University of Kentucky basketball team, with Alex Groza, Wallace Jones, Cliff Barker, and Kenny Rollins.[5] Beard won a gold medal in the 1948 Summer Olympics with the Fabulous Five and the Phillips 66ers.[6][7]

Professional careerEdit

Indianapolis Olympians (1949-1951)Edit

A jersey honoring Beard hangs in Rupp Arena.

Taken in the second round of the 1949 NBA draft, Beard played two seasons with the Indianapolis Olympians and averaged 15.9 points and 4.4 assists per game.[8]

CCNY point shaving scandalEdit

In October 1951, authorities charged him along with his former teammates Alex Groza and Dale Barnstable with taking bribes as part of the 1951 NCAA point shaving scandal. They pleaded guilty and received suspended sentences but the NBA Commissioner Maurice Podoloff banned all three for life from the NBA. Beard admitted that he took $700 but denied that he had ever shaved points in a game.[4] He claimed that Frank Hogan, the New York district attorney, conspired with Podoloff of the NBA and Cardinal Francis Spellman, the Archbishop of New York to go after Midwestern players in an effort to protect players at Catholic colleges.[5]


He worked in the pharmaceutical industry afterward. His only involvement in the sport after his ban was some scouting work with the Kentucky Colonels of the American Basketball Association.[4] He tried playing professional baseball but his ban for gambling prevented him from that sport as well.[9]

NBA career statisticsEdit

  GP Games played   GS  Games started  MPG  Minutes per game
 FG%  Field goal percentage  3P%  3-point field goal percentage  FT%  Free throw percentage
 RPG  Rebounds per game  APG  Assists per game  SPG  Steals per game
 BPG  Blocks per game  PPG  Points per game  Bold  Career high

Regular seasonEdit

1949–50 Indianapolis 60 .363 .762 3.9 14.9
1950–51 Indianapolis 66 .368 .775 3.8 4.8 16.8
Career 126 .366 .770 3.8 4.4 15.9
All-Star 1 .375 .000 3.0 2.0 6.0


1950 Indianapolis 5 .314 .786 4.4 13.2
1951 Indianapolis 3 .443 .706 4.0 4.3 22.0
Career 8 .374 .756 4.0 4.4 16.5

Personal lifeEdit

Later in life, the University of Kentucky welcomed Beard back. The school retired his jersey in 1995[citation needed] and invited him to speak to players about point shaving.[5]

In 1985, he was inducted into the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame.[5]

Beard died on November 29, 2007 at his Louisville, Kentucky home.[10][4]


  1. ^ Ralph Beard Statistics
  2. ^ Goldstein, Richard (December 3, 2007). "Ralph Beard, a Star Tarnished by Point Shaving, Is Dead at 79 (Published 2007)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  3. ^ "Ralph Beard Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d "Ralph Beard, Kentucky Star Involved in Point-Shaving Scandal, Is Dead at 79". New York Times. November 30, 2007.
  5. ^ a b c d "The story of Ralph Beard". Sports Illustrated. November 30, 2007.
  6. ^ Evans, Hilary; Gjerde, Arild; Heijmans, Jeroen; Mallon, Bill; et al. "Ralph Beard Olympic Results". Olympics at Sports-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. Archived from the original on April 18, 2020. Retrieved June 14, 2018.
  7. ^ "Ralph BEARD - Olympic Basketball | United States of America". International Olympic Committee. June 16, 2016. Retrieved November 1, 2020.
  8. ^ "All-Time Kentucky Team (Starting PG): #12 Ralph Beard". straitpinkie.com. Archived from the original on October 5, 2013. Retrieved May 27, 2013.
  9. ^ "Ralph Beard; Scheme Clouded Hoops Career". Washington Post. December 1, 2007.
  10. ^ Former UK star Ralph Beard, part of a college basketball point-shaving scandal, dies at 79 Yahoo! Sports. November 29, 2007.

External linksEdit