Hoops hero who inspired 'Hoosiers' now serves legendarily large Indiana-style fried pork sandwiches

Bobby Plump’s last shot for tiny Milan High School was a 17-foot jumper that captured the 1954 Indiana state basketball championship.

The victory by the Milan Indians, 70 years ago today, inspired the David-beats-Goliath 1986 Hollywood sports flick “Hoosiers.”

Plump’s Last Shot is the family’s slam-dunk sports bar in Indianapolis that today serves giant breaded fried pork tenderloin sandwiches, an Indiana culinary tradition.

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Plump’s fried tenderloin has inspired mouthwatering praise from coast to coast. One national outlet named it one of the five best regional sandwiches in North America.

The hardwood hero behind both Hoosier legends is now 87 years old, alive and well.

The famous oversized pork tenderloin sandwich at Plump’s Last Shot in Indianapolis, Indiana, is shown here. The sports bar was founded by Indiana high school basketball legend Bobby Plump. He hit the winning shot in the 1954 state title game that inspired the film “Hoosiers.” (Courtesy Plump’s Last Shot)

Plump, a longtime insurance executive, still goes to the office only two blocks from his family’s restaurant in the Broad Ripple neighborhood of Indianapolis.

His son Jonathan runs the operation.

“People in neighboring states occasionally have breaded tenderloin, but it’s really an Indiana thing,” Plump told Fox News Digital in a telephone interview.

“Everybody knows about tenderloin in Indiana. The thing is here, we don’t put the word ‘pork’ in front of it. We just call it tenderloin.”

The oversized sandwiches at Plump’s Last Shot hit nothing but net with sports and food fans.

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Tenderloin comes from the lean but tender muscle along the spine of the pig, similar to the cut on a cow that becomes filet mignon.

The meat is butterflied and pounded thin, doused with flour and soaked in buttermilk, then coated in crusty bread crumbs.

Former Milan High School basketball star Bobby Plump and members of the movie “Hoosiers” were honored during the men’s college basketball game between the Butler Bulldogs and Eastern Illinois Panthers on Dec. 11, 2021, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis, Indiana.  (Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

The half-pound tenderloin is deep-fried to crispy perfection, then served between a sandwich roll … sort of.

In reality, the 10-inch-wide tenderloin taunts the overmatched bread.

The roll appears tiny in comparison and comically incapable of containing the plate-sized portion of pork.

The sandwiches are so tender, crispy and delicious — and so monstrously mammoth — that they attract and inspire visitors from far and wide.

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Plump’s Last Shot features Indiana high school basketball memorabilia, including Plump’s varsity jacket from Milan’s 1953 state final four his junior year. He was named Indiana’s best player, Mr. Basketball, in the championship season that followed.

The restaurant occupies a cottage-style structure with a porch that overlooks a bend in the White River, which cuts through the heart of Indianapolis.

The river flows past Plump’s college alma mater, Butler University, where he set several basketball team scoring records.

The 1986 movie “Hoosiers” told the fictional story of an improbable Indiana state basketball championship by small-town Hickory High School. It was based on the real-life story of the 1954 state title achieved by Milan High School.  (Alamy)

Plump’s last shot in 1954 for Milan High “beat Muncie Central and forever cast Milan as a symbol of hope for small schools everywhere,” says the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame.

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Plump still remembers every detail of the wild celebration that followed his high school’s miraculous victory.

“The police estimated that 30,000 to 40,000 people came to our town of 1,100 people — and they came from four surrounding states,” he said.

The victory tour continues today.

Milan High School hosts a 70th anniversary celebration of its 1954 basketball title on Saturday. Plump said he expects Gov. Eric Holcomb, “Hoosiers” screenwriter Angelo Pizzo and other dignitaries to attend.

He closed his conversation with age-old words of wisdom he said were made during that unforgettable victory party in 1954.

“It’s nice to be important,” he said. “But it’s more important to be nice.”

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

Kerry J. Byrne is a lifestyle reporter with Fox News Digital.

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