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Ray Lumpp, Olympic champion basketball player, World War II veteran, dies at 91

Ray Lumpp

TODAY -- Pictured: Ray Lumpp appears on NBC News’ “Today” show -- (Photo by: Peter Kramer/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

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Ray Lumpp, a 1948 U.S. Olympic basketball champion and World War II veteran, died at age 91 on Friday.

Lumpp had been the oldest living U.S. Olympian in basketball.

Lumpp played guard on the U.S. Olympic team that won gold in London at the first post-World War II Olympics and then in the NBA, with the New York Knicks and Baltimore Bullets.

Lumpp took a reported seven-day boat trip through the Atlantic Ocean to get to the Olympics.

Grace Kelly was on board -- her husband, Jack Kelly, was an oarsman,” Lumpp said in 2012, according to NBC Bay Area, in what must be a misquote, because Jack was Grace’s brother. “She was given a lot of attention by the press.”

“London was in no shape to have the Olympics,” Lumpp told in 2012. “They were just digging out from rubble — there were rubble piles all over the place.”

Lumpp’s Olympic team dominated much like today’s U.S. teams, going 8-0, including a 65-21 win over France in the gold-medal game.
''It was like 48-10 at halftime, and we were asked by Olympic officials not to embarrass the French team,’' Lumpp said in 1992, according to USA Today.

The current U.S. Olympic coach, Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, invited Lumpp as a special guest to return to London for the 2012 Olympics.

Lumpp also served as New York Athletic Club president for five decades. His name is engraved on the gym floor there, according to The Associated Press.

Kobe [Bryant] was working out there and said ‘What did you do to get your name on the floor?’” Lumpp told the AP in 2012.

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