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‘Hoosiers’ actor guest speaker at annual banquet


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Whiteland resident Brad Long portayed ''Buddy'' in the 1986 movie ''Hoosiers.'' He will be guest speaker at the June 4 Johnson County Athlete of the Year Banquet at Franklin College. FILE PHOTO
Whiteland resident Brad Long portayed ''Buddy'' in the 1986 movie ''Hoosiers.'' He will be guest speaker at the June 4 Johnson County Athlete of the Year Banquet at Franklin College. FILE PHOTO


If you’re a fan of “Hoosiers,” circle June 4 on your calendar.

Even if you’re not a fan or haven’t seen the classic movie, mark the date anyway.

You’ll want to hear what Brad Long has to say.

A lifelong Johnson County resident, Long lives in Whiteland. He graduated from Center Grove High School in 1981 and went on to play four years of basketball for Southwestern College in Winfield, Kan.

If you go

What: 15th annual Johnson County Athlete of the Year Banquet

When: June 4; social time is at 6:30 p.m.; dinner is at 7 p.m.

Where: Branigin Room, Franklin College campus center on South Forsythe Street

Cost: $25 per ticket. The event is open to the public. A limited number of tickets are available for purchase after May 21 at the Daily Journal office, 2575 N. Morton St. (U.S. 31) in Franklin

Guest speaker: Brad Long, who portrayed Hickory Huskers basketball player Buddy Walker in the 1986 film “Hoosiers”

Immediately afterward, he landed a prominent and memorable role in the 1986 film “Hoosiers.”

On June 4, Long will share his story — and pass along life lessons picked up along the way — at the 15th annual Johnson County Athlete of the Year Banquet at Franklin College.

Long, who portrayed “Buddy” in the movie, is the guest speaker at this year’s event. A sought-after inspirational speaker, Long works full time in the business world but stays busy speaking at churches, schools and to civic groups, delivering a motivational message about dreaming big and making dreams come true — even from the humblest of beginnings.

“In America, really we can do anything we want to do and be anything we want to be. It’s a free country, and we’re blessed to have the opportunities to pursue our dreams,” said Long, who draws from his own experiences with “Hoosiers” and sports to drive home the point.

Incorporating memorabilia and relics from the film, Long’s presentations are a lively of blend of behind-the-scenes “Hoosiers” yarns and humorous anecdotes involving himself and other cast members, most notably Gene Hackman and Dennis Hopper.

A devout Christian, Long — in a mix of amusing and serious light — road-maps how the unexpected opportunity to be part of the iconic movie and playing sports have profoundly impacted is life, all for the good.

Long’s goal is to inspire each of the student-athletes who will be honored at the banquet for excellence in athletics achievement and sportsmanship.

“It’s a message that these athletes can take with them, whether it be to college, whether it be their career, marriage, whatever, things that they can draw on and say, ‘That makes sense. I might be able to use that,’” said Long, who married his high school sweetheart, Lisa, shortly after college.

The couple have two children, daughter Shelby and son Landry. Shelby is a Whiteland graduate, and Landry attends Whiteland.

Although Long has spoken to countless groups in the years since the release of “Hoosiers,” he hasn’t grown jaded trying to lift others. Rather, he views it as a calling.

“I really don’t get tired of it, because I realize I was really blessed to be in that position,” said Long, who spoke at the 2006 Athlete of the Year Banquet. “’Hoosiers’ was a once-in-a-lifetime event. I was in the right place at the right time. I got a break. God used me to that extent.

“You want to try to give back and be a role model. The opportunity with ‘Hoosiers’ is still a blessing.”

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