Oklahoma Olympians: Bob Kurland changes basketball, introduces the nation to slam dunk

Posted at 6:00 AM, Aug 10, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-10 07:00:18-04

Today's Oklahoma Olympian is Bob Kurland, one of the game of basketball's first great "big men."

OLYMPICS COVERAGE: Summer Games Trivia | News and notes about the Games | What's it like to compete in an Olympic event? | Follow the talk around the Games | Where are the #FutureOlympians?Watch live coverage on

At almost 7 feet tall, Kurland introduced the nation to slam dunk, and because of his defensive prowess, college basketball banned goaltending, playing for the legendary Hank Iba. 


Kurland led Oklahoma A&M to back-to-back NCAA national championships in 1945 and 1946.

Not wanting to go pro after college, he went to work for Phillips petroleum in Bartlesville, but continued to play armature ball, joining the U.S. Olympic team.

Kurland led Team USA to gold medals in London in 1948 and in Helsinki in 1952. He stayed at Phillips in Bartlesville until he retired in the mid-80's.

Kurland died in September of 2015 at the age of 88, leaving behind a lasting legacy. 

Stay in touch with us anytime, anywhere.

Download our free app for Apple and Android and Kindle devices.

Sign up for newsletters emailed to your inbox. Select from these options: Breaking News, Severe Weather, School Closings, Daily Headlines and Daily Forecasts.

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook