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Eric Woodyard, Deseret News
The Darrell Griffith Athletic Center opened at West End School in the fall of 2014 in Louisville, Kentucky.
My parents always taught me to be there for people because people have been there for you and it’s kind of stuck with me. —Darrell Griffith

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If you’re ever in Louisville, Kentucky, you must check out Griff’s restaurant in the heart of the University of Louisville campus.

Make sure you order the catfish fingers. For $10.99, you’ll receive a hearty portion of hand-breaded, tender catfish with your choice of a regular side. It’s his mother’s recipe.

“That’s one of the favorites and the chicken and waffles are pretty good,” said former Utah Jazz star and restaurant owner Darrell Griffith.

But Griffith’s impact doesn’t stop there.

If you ride past the Watterson City building, along I-264 East at Newburg Road, you’ll notice a five-story mural of Griffith slamming in a Louisville jersey off the expressway as part of the Greater Louisville Pride Foundation’s Hometown Heroes program. Legendary heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali has one up, too.

In the fall of 2014, the Darrell Griffith Athletic Center also opened at West End School.

He also runs The Darrell Griffith Foundation, which annually hosts festivities in town around the time of the Kentucky Derby, and was recently invited to deliver a keynote speech at the Bigger Than A Game Final Score Celebration, where he stressed the importance of self-respect and character.

Utah fans may know him as Dr. Dunkenstein after his 11-year career that spanned from 1980-91. He hasn’t run up and down the court in a professional basketball game since May 9, 1991, but a trip to Louisville will show you why he’s a hometown hero.

“When you retire, you’ve got to take another course in your life and you have more time to do some of the things that I’m doing now,” Griffith told the Deseret News. “I don’t do it for publicity. This stuff I do is what I’m supposed to do.”

At 59-years-old, Griffith is just as relevant now in Louisville as he was when he led the program to its first-ever national title in 1980. He’s planning on opening his second Griff’s restaurant off campus in April at 133 W. Liberty Street. near the luxurious Omni Louisville Hotel with even more space.

Griffith continues to reside in Louisville, where he lives up to the bill as a true hometown hero.

Go see for yourself if you don’t believe it.

That was the plan all along.

“Everybody through their lifetime, especially when they’re young, someone has always done something for you,” Griffith said. “Someone has always reached out and helped you along the way, and I just want to do the same that was done for me when I was young.

“My parents always taught me to be there for people because people have been there for you and it’s kind of stuck with me.”