Sports Journalism

From free throws to fryers: How a life in basketball has helped John Laskowski in the restaurant industry

A man named John walks around his Culver’s restaurant. He’s the owner. He greets “the regulars,” cleans tables, and asks customers if they want refills. Seems like extra good service for any restaurant, especially since it’s provided by the owner. You never would have guessed that he played professional basketball.

Meet John Laskowski; the hooper turned entrepreneur.

Laskowski was a part of a legendary Indiana Hoosiers squad in college. His 1975 squad lost on game all season, a team Coach Bob Knight still believes is the best he ever coached (even better than the undefeated ‘76 Hoosiers.) He spent two seasons in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls before entering a legendary 33-year tenure broadcasting Hoosier basketball, while simultaneously pursuing business interests. 

Speaking of business interests, he opened the Culver’s franchise in Bloomington in November of 2018. He spent four years preparing for …
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A Family Man’s Journey: How IU Alumnus Patrick O’Connor Traded in a Life in the Water for One in Sport and Recreation Insurance Management

The clear, glistening water of Royer Pool reflects in Patrick O’Connor’s eyes as he lines up for his heat of the 200 IM. As he takes a quick gaze to his left and right, waiting for the starting official’s gun, he mentally scouts out his competition. Tall, lanky Big 10 swimmers stand imposingly on their starting blocks, framing their race in their mind as they mentally plan out each stroke and flip turn. O’Connor takes his eyes off his opponents, gives his arms a quick stretch, and bends over at the waist to complete his starting position, grabbing a hold of the small protruding extension of the platform. As he closes his eyes, he hears a          b a n g           and dives majestically into the water as he and 7 other …
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A Bright Light in B-Town: How an IU Basketball Legend  Has Transformed His Community Off the Court

As you gaze at the menu options depicting everything from mouth-watering single, double, cheese, and bacon ButterBurgers to the flavor of the day, a light cookies-and-cream frozen custard slowly churning out of the trademark Culver’s custard machine, you can’t help but notice the very tall, older employee with a dark blue polo, black dress pants, and a Culver’s hat quietly scrubbing the tables. He nitpicks every single crumb, making sure the restaurant is completely spotless for the numerous regulars that frequent the location. As he cleans, he chats up the guests, calling some by their first names and asking how their families are. He alternates between this clean-and-greet and running a cash register, helping out the often-overloaded front employees take orders.

If you didn’t grow up in Bloomington, or you didn’t watch Hoosier Basketball during Bobby Knight’s early tenure as head …
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Laskowski finds his niche

One may not expect that butter burgers and cheese curds are a meal fit for a basketball player. But when you’re John Laskowski, this meal means much more than feeding your appetite. For Laskowski, this meal tells a story of loyalty and dedication.

Once a three-time Big Ten champion with Bob Knight’s Indiana Hoosier basketball team, “Super Sub” John Laskowski traded in his red and white for blue eight months ago, becoming the owner/operator of Bloomington’s Culver’s.

When you look at his résumé, it seems Laskowski has had a complete life. He spent four years playing basketball for the Hoosiers, two years with the Chicago Bulls, and 33 years as a basketball commentator. However, life was not always easy for Laskowski, who’s father passed away when he was eight years old and his single mother struggled to make ends meet throughout his …
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Tainted Love: An IU fan’s perspective

It is a cold day on March 14, 2000. The #6 seed Indiana Hoosiers were on their way to the NCAA Tournament in two days to play the #11 seed Pepperdine Waves. Bob Knight is coaching the Hoosiers for his 29th season soon on his way to the 30 year milestone. However, a report from CNN comes out that former IU player Neil Reed had been choked by Coach Knight three years prior. Though Coach Knight had denied the claims, a video was later published with him putting his hands on Reed. Later that year. Knight was fired by the Indiana University administration for his actions. Despite his controversial actions, 29 years of legacy with the Hoosier program was under his vision. Was it right for the administration to fire him?

To understand what Bobby means to Indiana University, there must …
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From Super-Sub to Super-Manager: The Story of John Laskowski’s Lasting Impact Around Bloomington

John Laskowski isn’t your ordinary former athlete. He is a man of many trades and lived many lives throughout his 66 years on this planet. From being recruited by Bob Knight to play for Indiana, to becoming a broadcaster for Hoosier games for 3 decades, to now owning a Culver’s in Bloomington. 

In his legendary tenure, Laskowski became more than just a former IU athlete to the people of B-town. 

Laskowski first came to the city on a recruiting trip for the Hoosier basketball with new Indiana head coach Bob Knight back in 1971. He committed to IU after seeing the Kelley School of Business’s reputation along with being a walk on as a Hoosier. After graduating from Indiana University Bloomington, he played in the NBA, commentated for the Hoosiers for 33 years, and went into real estate. However, in 2018, he …
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The Community Assist

John Laskowski is long past his basketball days. He hasn’t played in a professional game since 1977, yet the IU superstar continues to be a celebrity in the Bloomington community. This past November, Laskowski opened a Culver’s ten minutes away from campus. After breaking the record for sales on the first two consecutive days, Laskowski continues to rake in customers. The Bloomington Culver’s scored a 97 out of 100 on their monthly check in: “That’s unheard of, especially for the first ever check in,” says Laskowski.

But how did Laskowski find success outside the hardwood? After not being re-signed by The Chicago Bulls in 1977, Laskowski found himself wandering back to Bloomington to start over again.

“There were eight guys from that ‘75 team that went onto play in the NBA,” says Laskowski. “When I was done, there were still seven left; …
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Facing the facts of gender inequality in college athletics

Indiana University Campus Lantern with “Inspire” On a Banner

Since the passing of Title IX, by Congress in 1972, universities have opened their door to creating many opportunities for female athletes. Or at least that’s what the gender-equity law is supposed to do. As the percentage of women participating in sports have increased, males still seem to dominate in terms of participation and creating a larger fan base.

With 24 competing teams at Indiana University – Bloomington, the most popular sports teams, which also happen to be the only two teams that bring in revenue, are football and men’s basketball. Although football and men’s basketball generate a large portion of the revenue from ticket sales and TV programs, the money isn’t kept within the sport. But instead it’s the athletic department’s revenue and they decide how that’s going to be …
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The Future of Virtual Reality

Free-D replay technology introduces new angle for athlete development