Louie Dampier is one of just a handful of players to spend all nine seasons in the ABA during the 1960s and ‘70s. But Dampier missed the ABA’s inaugural training camp and pre-season practice with the Kentucky Colonels due to another obligation.
Before Dampier was set to begin his professional basketball career following a successful tenure with the University of Kentucky in 1967, he volunteered to serve in Kentucky National Guard unit based in Danville. After completing basic training at Fort Campbell with the 101st Airborne, Dampier was sent to Fort Knox for advanced individual training, which coincided with the beginning of the Colonels’ first season.
Dampier was allowed to play home games for the Colonels in Louisville, but couldn’t travel with the team and missed road contests early in the season. Volunteering did allow Dampier to receive an exemption for the military draft and not lose two years from his basketball career.