Robert M. Hopkins , Sr.



In loving memory of
November 3, 1934 – May 15, 2015


Robert M. Hopkins (Bob) was born on November 3, 1934 in Quitman, Louisiana to Otis Hopkins and Mattie Lou Bolds. Bob grew up in northern Louisiana in Jonesboro. He graduated from Jonesboro Colored High School in 1952 where he excelled at football, baseball and basketball. He accepted a scholarship to play basketball for Grambling State University only after he was promised that Nola (sister) and Cody Lee (brother) would get scholarships too. Nola attended Grambling and Cody Lee went to Paul Quinn College.

After high school, Bob attended Louisiana’s Grambling State University where he received his degree in Physical Education. He continued his advanced studies in Education and Physical Education at Sam Houston Teacher’s College and Louisiana State University.

Bob was a four-time All-American at Grambling in the ‘50s, and was Louisiana’s career scoring leader with 3,759 points on the NCAA all-division list. From 1952 to 1956 he led the nation in rebounding, averaging 17 rebounds per game. He was the first player in NCAA to reach 1,000 points from 1953 to 1954 and 1954 to 1955.

Upon graduating from college, the Syracuse Nationals drafted Bob into the NBA where he thrived for 5 years before a knee-injury shifted his playing days into coaching. As his coaching passion grew, he nurtured, mentored and guided young men and women for over 28 years coaching at the college level. Bob coached at Prairie View A&M University, Alcorn University, Xavier University, Southern University, Grambling State University and University of Maryland Eastern Shore.

Bob returned to the NBA, where he worked as Head Scout and Assistant Coach with the Seattle Super Sonics alongside his cousin, NBA Legend Bill Russell, and was later promoted to Head Coach. Then he spent the next 2 years as Assistant Coach for the New York Knicks with his old college buddy, Hall of Famer Willis Reed.

In 1976, Bob became a distinguished member of the Louisiana Basketball Hall of Fame, both as a player and coach, and member of the All-Louisiana College Team of the Century. In 1963, he was inducted into the NAIA Hall of Fame and some of his basketball memorabilia was placed into the Naismith Hall of Fame. In 2013, he was inducted into various Halls of Fame as a celebrated college basketball player – the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame, the Southwestern Athletic Conference Hall of Fame, and his alma mater, Grambling Legends Sports Hall of Fame.


Bob is survived by Beverly, his loyal wife of more than 55 years, a Shreveport native who he met and fell in love with at Grambling. Their loving children include Lynnetta, Marilyn, Debbie and Bob Jr. and son-in-law, Rex Hashimoto. They have four grandchildren, Adrianne, Christopher, Alexandria and Kellen, and great grandchild, Madison, and a host of nieces and nephews. Bob’s many-treasured siblings, Nola Mae Prestley Edmond (Jessie), Dessie Lee Adams and brother, Cody Lee Prestley, preceded him in death. His remaining sister, Maggie Bell McCardie resides in Alexandria, LA.

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Bob spent his entire professional career studying the game of basketball as an inspirational educator, mentor, successful collegiate coach, professional basketball coach and player. He will always be remembered as a player development specialist, with a keen emphasis in the art of defense, and was highly skilled in scouting and grooming talent.

He was a life member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the Bob Hopkins Scholarship Fund c/o Kappa Alpha Psi Foundation: 516 22nd Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112.

One Response to “Robert M. Hopkins , Sr.”

  • Sandra Davis Beck says:

    To Aunt Beverly and the Family,
    You have my deepest heartfelt sympathy at the passing of your loved one. Uncle Bob leaves a legacy of love, life and achievements beyond measure. May God continue to give you comfort, strength and the peace that surpasses all understanding as you go through this time of bereavement; and may He also grant you the ability to also joyfully celebrate Bob’s great life lived with you and because of you, his loving family.
    Love Always, Sandra (Sandy) Davis Beck

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