Cotton Nash

Cotton Nash, a legendary basketball player for the Kentucky Wildcats who later became one of the few men to play in both the NBA and MLB, died Tuesday. He was 80. reports that Nash has been dealing with “significant” health issues since Thanksgiving.

A 6-5 forward, Nash earned first- or second-team All-American honors all three seasons at Kentucky, averaging 22.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. He left as the school’s all-time leading scorer in 1964.

Drafted 12th overall in 1964 by the Los Angeles Lakers, Nash played three seasons in the NBA. In two seasons with the Kentucky Colonels in the American Basketball Association, he averaged 5.6 points per game in his pro career.

After leaving the NBA, he also pursued his interest in baseball, making it to the majors for limited action with the Chicago White Sox and Minnesota Twins from 1967 to 1970. He is among only 13 players in history in the NBA and MLB.

“I’m on a very short list of guys,” Nash said in 2020 (via “And I’m grateful for that unique experience.”

Kentucky basketball fans and the sports world shared their memories and well-wishes for Nash’s family. Kentucky head basketball coach John Calipari noted, “Sad day for all in #BBN, losing UK great Cotton Nash.”

[; Photo Credit: University of Kentucky]

About Arthur Weinstein

Arthur spends his free time traveling around the U.S. to sporting events, state and national parks, and in search of great restaurants off the beaten path.