Friday Flashback: Lincoln blazed own trail, roasted foes at UAA

February 19, 2021

Butch Lincoln

Kotzebue’s Butch Lincoln broke down social and racial barriers with the same easiness that he used to break down an opponent’s press defense on the basketball court.

More than just an all-star player in high school and college, he was a trailblazer for Alaska Natives and a role model for all players because of his courtliness and court sense.

Lincoln starred at the University of Alaska Anchorage between 1993 and 1997, helping the Seawolves win 69 games, capture three Pac West Conference titles and secure three berths to the NCAA Tournament.

The 5-foot-7 guard was a passing wiz and deft dribbler who was effective against aggressive defenses aimed at slowing him down. In 1996, he famously zigged and zagged around Kentucky’s famed press to the delight of the crowd at the Great Alaska Shootout.

Lincoln was a fan favorite, a dynamic dynamo who brought excitement and energy to the game.

Maybe not since the likes of Wally Leask and Herb Didrickson in the 1940s had an Alaska Native hoops player garnered so much attention. Lincoln was the third Alaska Native to play at UAA, but the first to receive a scholarship.

Lincoln proved he belonged and still ranks among UAA’s all-time top-10 leaders in assists and free-throw percentage almost 25 years after his eligibility expired.

At Kotzebue High, Lincoln was a living legend.

In 1990, he led the Huskies to the Class 3A state championship game – the team’s only finals appearance before or since. In 1991, he averaged 23 points per game on a 25-win team and was a candidate for Alaska player-of-the-year honors.

In 1999, Lincoln was honored by Sports Illustrated as one of Alaska’s 50 greatest sports figures of the 20th century.

Friday Flashback is a series created by Alaska Sports Hall of Fame blog editor Van Williams that looks back on great Alaska athletes from the past. To read about other Alaskans featured in this series, click here.