Funeral set Saturday for 1986 inductee Frank Brian, basketball great

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ZACHARY – Funeral services are Saturday for 1986 Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame inductee Frank Brian, one of LSU’s first basketball All-Americans, who played in the first NBA All-Star Game.

Brian, 94, passed away Sunday. Visitation is from 9 a.m. until shortly before the noon funeral service at the Plains Presbyterian Church, 22929 Old Scenic Highway, Zachary. Condolence messages may be left in the guest book at BakerFuneralHomeOnline.com.

His devoted wife Liz, son Bobby Brian of St. Francisville and daughters Barbara Lee Brian Floyd of Lake Charles and Leslie Ann Brian Smith of Coushatta are immediate survivors in a group that includes 12 grandchildren, 19 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.

Brian was on the 2017 ballot for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. He was enshrined in the LSU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2013 and the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame in 1987, and the Zachary High School Hall of Fame.

A Zachary native, Brian led Zachary High to the 1940 state finals and the 1941 state championship in basketball. Following two years at LSU, he entered the U.S. Army during World War II, serving from 1943-46.
Brian earned All-Southeastern Conference honors in 1942-43 (averaging 14 points, third in the SEC) and 1946-47, when he scored 16 per game in league play.

After the war, he helped the Tigers to a two-year 35-7 record in 1945-47, the best two-year winning percentage in LSU hoops history. He was a 1946-47 All-America selection.

He also competed in four events for the Tigers at the 1943 SEC Championships.

In 1948, he was named the National Basketball League Rookie of the Year for the Anderson Packers after averaging 11.3 points per game. The following year, he was the Packers’ leading scorer at almost 10 a game and led his team to the NBL championship. Brian won NBL All-Star honors twice, in 1948 and 1949, and NBA All-Star recognition two times, playing in the NBA’s inaugural All-Star Game.

He had a career high 17.8 average in the NBA’s first season, starting a string of three straight years that he was top 10 in the NBA’s scoring lists, 16.8 points to go with 3.9 assists per game in 1950-51 and 15.9 points per game in 1951-52.

Brian played in the 1955 and 1956 NBA Finals for the Fort Wayne (now Detroit) Pistons and scored 6,663 points in his 10-year pro career. In his seven NBA seasons, he averaged 12.3 points and 2.6 assists.

After his playing career ended, Brian was a successful cattleman in Coushatta before moving to Baton Rouge in 1976 and eventually back near where he grew up in Zachary. He was in construction, investment property and was part owner of the Quick-Kick sports drink.

Brian and his wife attended nearly every Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame induction following his selection until his health prevented him taking part recently.

At the time of his passing, he was believed to be the oldest living LSU basketball letterwinner and the oldest living participant in the NBA’s first All-Star Game.

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Doug Ireland

Doug Ireland

Sports Information Director, Northwestern State (LA) Chairman, Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame

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