Man travels from Florida to attend 75th Sweet 16 tournament

90-year-old fan comes to 75th straight Sweet 16 tournament.
90-year-old fan comes to 75th straight Sweet 16 tournament.(WKYT)
Published: Mar. 18, 2023 at 10:53 PM EDT
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - Each year, different teams from across the commonwealth get a chance to play in the Sweet 16 tournament.

There’s new coaches, new players, new referees and new fans.

But one face in the stands, remains consistent.

Meet the man who isn’t letting the miles limit his love of sport and excitement for Kentucky High School basketball.

“I’m a permanent resident of Florida, but my home, my original home, is Kentucky,” said Brown Allen.

The 90-year-old is sort of, a reverse snowbird.

He spent 40 years as a banker in Louisville, sold his home and then moved south. But there’s one thing he couldn’t leave behind.

His love of high school basketball.

“Feels pretty exciting because I have my 55-year-old son with me and I get to see some good basketball, there’s been very good games and it’s been more enjoyable because we’re having good games this year,” he said.

Every winter, he makes the trek back to the bluegrass.

“Basketball has been a large part of this country boys life and that’s the only thing I have that takes me back to the beginning,” he said.

Saturday night’s match-up at Rupp Arena marked his 75th state championship, cheering in the stands.

“I enjoy being with him, we just treasure these moments because it’s moments you can never get back,” said his son, John Allen.

Brown Allen’s first tournament was in March of 1948. The 15-year-old who was raised on a farm in Henry County was gifted an extra ticket to the games.

It was an experience, he’s never forgotten.

“That was exciting, for a country boy that had never been to anything like that, it stayed with me all my life,” he said.

Back then, the three point shot didn’t even exist.

He tells WKYT the games are a lot quicker now and the defense is more aggressive.

“Everyone but one gets beat,” he says.

Brown is speaking from experience. He served his country in the 50′s and dribbled for two years with the Navy in Pearl Harbor.’

“Those are the things that a lot of us had to go through, so that we could be here today,” he told WKYT.

He doesn’t travel alone either.

The 1948 game program has it’s own seat. He bought it for 25 cents, which was a lot back in the day.

Now, it’s a priceless heirloom that he can’t imagine selling, so don’t ask.

“I have kept it in a Folder, and every year I get it out a couple of times and go through it and think about the teams and some of th players I remember, so that program is pretty important to me.”

A new champion was crowned Saturday night and Brown will head back to the Sunshine state.

In the fall, he’ll be following the season along from his iPad.

“How happy I am to be here and starting tomorrow when the game is over, I’ll be looking forward to next year’s tournament,” he said.

Waiting for his next chance for basketball to bring this country boy, back home.