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You Tube Gold: Butch Lee

He wasn’t a great NBA player but Butch Lee had the heart of an absolute champion

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Cleveland Cavaliers: Butch Lee
CLEVELAND, CA - 1979: Butch Lee #15 of the Cleveland Cavaliers shoots the ball during a game circa 1979 at the Coliseum at Richfield in Richfield Township, OH.
Photo by NBA Photos/NBAE via Getty Images

Having lots of great players throughout the history of basketball means that some will invariably be overlooked. Take Butch Lee for instance.

He chose Marquette for college but we seem to remember that he strongly considered Duke.

At Marquette he won a national championship as a senior and left a major legacy. Before that though was the Olympics.

At that point, the Olympics only took amateur athletes and Dean Smith coached the team in 1976 and didn’t invite Lee to tryouts (actually we think at that point Smith had a voice but the process went through a cumbersome committee).

Lee then opted to play for his native Puerto Rico and nearly led the underdogs to a massive upset. Lee shot 15-18 for 35 points and the Puerto Ricans fell 95-94 in one of the great team performances in Olympic history.

In 1977 he got his revenge against Dean Smith as Marquette beat UNC 67-59 as Al McGuire said that he was going out on “seashells and balloons.”

He wasn’t as successful in the NBA but the guy was legitimately great.

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