Ralph Beard

Biographical information

RolesCompeted in Olympic Games
Full nameRalph Milton•Beard, Jr.
Used nameRalph•Beard
Born2 December 1927 in Hardinsburg, Kentucky (USA)
Died29 November 2007 in Louisville, Kentucky (USA)
Measurements178 cm / 79 kg
AffiliationsKentucky Wildcats, Lexington (USA)
NOC United States
Medals OG
Gold 1
Silver 0
Bronze 0
Total 1


Ralph Beard was a three-time All-American guard on the Kentucky basketball team which sent five members to the London Olympics. He then joined his teammates on the Indianapolis Olympians but played for only two seasons in the nascent NBA, as he was brought down by a point-shaving scandal in which he was accused and barred from the NBA for life. He later admitted to taking about $700, but repeatedly denied shaving points, saying he “was too selfish as a basketball player, too proud of who I was, to ever play less than my best.”

Beard’s two years in the NBA were very successful, however. Playing for the Indianapolis Olympians, a team made up largely of the 1948 Olympic team, he was a playmaking guard who was among the top 20 scoring and assists leaders in both years and was voted first-team All-NBA in 1951 after having made the second team as a rookie. At the University of Kentucky, he had played on two NCAA Championship teams in 1948 and 1949. He was inducted into the Kentucky Hall of Fame in 1985 and had his jersey retired by the school. Beard later went into the wholesale drug business. His brother, Frank Beard, became one of the top players on the PGA Tour in the late 1960s-early 1970s.


Games Discipline (Sport) / Event NOC / Team Pos Medal As
1948 Summer Olympics Basketball (Basketball) USA Ralph Beard
Basketball, Men (Olympic) United States 1 Gold