James R. "Jim" Line, 87, who played on two University of Kentucky men's basketball championship teams, died Thursday at his home in Russell, Kan. He had battled dementia, said his daughter Meridy Barnes.
Mr. Line was a forward who played four years, from the 1946-47 season to 1949-50, under Coach Adolph Rupp.
The Wildcats earned their first national championship — led by the Fabulous Five — in 1948 and repeated the performance in 1949.
Mr. Line scored 1,041 points and played in 135 games during his career.
He was drafted by Indianapolis in the 1950 NBA draft, according to Bigbluehistory.net.
In 1948, he served as an alternate on the Olympic team. While attending the games in London, he befriended a fellow alternate, Martin Nash of the Phillips 66 Oilers, and his wife Marian. Mr. Line married Marian Nash's sister, Cheryl Hogue, in 1952. They were married until her death in 2010.
Mr. Line, who grew up in Akron, Ohio, was an Army veteran who went on to a career in the oil and natural gas industry after graduating from UK with a degree in mechanical engineering.
Barnes said her father "was a pretty modest man," but he enjoyed talking about his basketball career in his later years and continued to root for the Cats.
In 2008, she said, the entire family visited Lexington for a celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 1948 championship.
In addition to Meridy Barnes, Mr. Line is survived by two sons, Richard and Steven Line, and a daughter, Kristy Buyle.
Services are scheduled for 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Trinity United Methodist Church in Russell, Kan. Visitation is 6 to 7 p.m. Tuesday at Pohlman-Varner-Peeler Mortuary in Russell.
Published in Lexington Herald-Leader on Jan. 27, 2013