DIPPY CAROSI was a legendary playground basketball player - and one of the dirtiest ever to brutalize an opponent on the court.

And he admitted it.

He once bought 24 T-shirts bearing the inscription on the back: "I Got Mugged By Dippy at Narberth Playground."

"I gave them out one week," he told the Daily News' Ted Silary. "Guys are going, 'Hey, Dippy, what about me? What about the time you cut my lip?'

"So I went back and bought 24 more that said, 'I Survived Being Mugged by Dippy.' "

Guido L. "Dippy" Carosi was more than a legend on the playground in Narberth, where he played into his 70s. He was a popular figure in his former West Philadelphia neighborhood, where he organized basketball leagues to keep kids off the streets.

He refereed basketball in the Charles Baker League and then with the former American Basketball Association.

He was also an outstanding athlete in other sports, including football, baseball and track and field, and became a distance runner in middle age.

Dippy died Monday of complications of Alzheimer's disease. He was 80 and lived in Upper Darby.

He was a 30-plus-year employee of General Electric's shipping and receiving department at 32nd and Chestnut streets, where he played on the company basketball team.

He also played basketball and ran track in the Marine Corps at Camp Lejeune, N.C., and played in semipro basketball leagues.

His work with kids earned him membership in the Police Athletic League Hall of Fame.

Dippy told Silary how busy his schedule was when he was balancing a number of sports events in his mid-20s. Every Easter, the Black Knights, representing his West Philly parish, Our Lady of Angels Roman Catholic Church, hosted a football game at West Catholic High's field.

"That same day," he told Silary, "my basketball team, General Electric, is playing against the post office in the Eastern States tournament in Camden. Game starts at 10 a.m. We win. I jump in the car and get back to West Catholic's field for the football game. I run for one TD, throw for two and leave at halftime. Back to Camden. Game 2 against the post office. We win again."

Such frantic activity eased off as he grew older, but he played for many years in the informal games at Narberth.

Dippy was born in West Philadelphia to Guido Carosi and the former Philomena Malaspina, both Italian immigrants.

He played basketball and ran track at Overbrook High School, getting as far as the 11th grade, and he participated in the Penn Relays.

Dippy was a devoted parishioner of Our Lady of Angels, and when the church, which lost much of its mainly Italian congregants in the changing neighborhood, was threatened closure, Dippy and other parishioners organized fundraising events.

"We've stayed in the black," Dippy, a member of the church finance committee, told the Daily News' Larry McMullen in 1993. "We pay our bills."

Dippy was famous for the black, high-top Converse Chuck Taylor shoes he always wore on the court - and often off it.

"He was a beautiful person," said his son, Anthony Carosi. "He would walk into a room and change the spirit of the room. He was very witty, a lot of fun. He was my best friend."

Besides his son, he is survived by his wife of 54 years, the former Marylou Ruffo; two daughters, Phyllis McCarrick and Michelle Herbst; seven grandchildren; and one great-grandchild. He was predeceased by another son, Frank G. Carosi.

Services: 11 a.m. Friday at D'Anjolell Memorial Home, 2811 West Chester Pike, Broomall. Friends may call at 6 p.m. tomorrow at the funeral home. Burial will be in Ss. Peter & Paul Cemetery.