Black Legends of
Professional Basketball Foundation
Click Here - BLACK LEGENDS OF PROFESSIONAL BASKETBALL FOUNDATION NAMES
TWO LEGENDARY PLAYERS BLACK BASKETBALL PIONEERS OF THE YEAR
Click Here - "BASKETBALL GREAT ‘JUMPIN’ JOHNNY’ KLINE OF BRENTWOOD STARTS ‘GOOD WILL FUND’
FOR 27 RETIRED MEMBERS OF HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS"
The Black Legends of Professional
Basketball Foundation was founded in 1996 to commemorate the
talented professional basketball players from 1900 to 1960. The
Foundation is a 501C3 non-profit national organization and is
based in Detroit, Michigan.
Goals of the Black Legends
of Professional Basketball Foundation are to promote and preserve
the history and culture of the sport of basketball, to assist
Black pioneer players in financial need, to create a museum to
house, showcase and perpetuate the rich and often forgotten history
of black professional basketball players and barnstorming, teams
from 1900-1960 and to assist the "Black Legends" in
receiving public recognition for their outstanding contributions
to professional basketball.
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Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation
Since the Foundation's inception
in 1996, it has undertaken numerous projects to further its mission:
I - Gathering of Legends
- A weekend of activities and festivities honoring the Black Legends,
culminating in a Gala dinner.
II - Legends Locator - Designed to locate and contact
players for inclusion in reunion activities, history collection
and creation of a national database. This project has currently
reconnected more than 100 former NY Rens, Harlem Globetrotters
and barnstorming players.
III - Museum Exhibition
- Created to educate and celebrate the history and contribution of
Black professional basketball players from 1900-1960. A newly expanded
exhibition, projected to tour several major U.S. cities, made its national
debut February 18, 1999 at the Charles H. Wright Museum of African American
History in Detroit, Michigan.
IV - Youth Initiative
- In conjunction with the Wayne State University Athletics Division,
the Black Legends of Professional Basketball assists in creating youth
development programs in athletics at the middle and high school levels,
particularly the game of basketball.
Black Legends Fact
1891-Basketball was invented by Canadian-born James Naismith,
a YMCA instructor in Springfield, Massachusetts.
1896-First professional game was played in Trenton, New
Jersey (popularity of the game first spread through the YMCA).
1904-All Black YMCA's, settlement houses, culture clubs
and churches created basketball teams which were referred to
as "Black Fives".
1904-Bucky Lew, a Black player, played in a white league
in New England with the Newberry Haverhill. Frank Wilson integrated
the Mohawk Valley League the same year. The Eastern Pro League
had Black players from 1911 to 1917.
1905-The first known organized Black Five was the Brooklyn
Smart Set Club.
1909- The Loendi Big Five was organized by Cumberland
Posey, who also owned the Homestead Grays of the Negro Baseball
League. They dominated the Black basketball world for 10 years
until the Harlem Globetrotters and the New York Renaissance Big
Five arrived on the scene.
1913-Black Fives became widely known for their innovative
play and superior skills, which helped popularize and change
the nature of the game. Black Fives, such as the Incorporators
of New York City, the St. Christopher Five and the Monticello
Five organized barnstorming tours across the country and played
thousands of exhibition games against popular mainstream opponents.
1914-First white pro basketball team-Original Celtics
1922-The New York Renaissance Big Five were formed by
Bob Douglas, considered by some to be the father of Black basketball.
The "Rens" became the first salaried professional Black
1925-26-First pro basketball league
1926-27-Renamed National Basketball League-Metropolitan,
1927-Savoy Big Five (Harlem Globetrotters) are organized
1927-28-Rule change-Five fouls disqualifies player
1930's-Pro Basketball meant barnstormers (New York Rens
and Original Celtics)
1930's-No organized Black leagues but white leagues were
glad to play host to the Rens to improve their gate
1930-The New York Globetrotters with Fat Long, Toots Wright,
Inman Jackson, Kid Oliver and Runt Pullins (food and lodging
were serious problems on the road for the Globetrotters and the
1930-Major rule change-elimination of the center jump
after each basket
1930's- Philadelphia SPHA's only team to rival the New York
Rens and the only team to beat them on their own court
1936-Bernie Price joins the Globetrotters (Team played
in small towns)
1939-Globetrotters lost to the Rens in second round of
1939-New York Rens won the World Championship
1940-Harlem Globetrotters win their first and only World
1942-43-Many NBL players were called into the military. Chicago
Studebakers team tapped a pool of Black players, bringing integration
into the NBL (Al Price, Casey Jones, Shannie Barnett, Sonny Boswell,
Hillary Brown, Duke Cumberland, Roosie Hudson and Bernie Price).
1946-47-In the NBL only a handful of players were shooting
with one hand
1946-The Basketball Association of America started its
1946-George Mikan heralded the arrival of the Big MAn
(6'10") in pro basketball
1946-Basketball Association of America decided on 12 minute
quarters, 48 minute game.
1946-49-Prior to the merger of the NBL and the BAA, no team
signed a black player even though there were no rules against
1946-47-Brought Black players into the NBL for the first
time since 1943 ("Pop"Gates and Dolly King signed with
the Rochester Royals, Willie King, former Harlem Globetrotter
signed with the Detroit Gems, Charles Perry signed with the Gems,
and Bill Farrow signed with the Youngstown Bears).
1946-47-The NBL had better players but they played in small
cities and small arenas. The BAA had major cities and major arenas
so they decided to merge.
August 1949-The NBL and the BAA merge into the NBA. The NBA was
born with ten teams from the BAA and seven teams from the NBL.
1947-The BAA promotes double hitters with Harlem Globetrotters
as their second attraction and gate receipts soared.
1949-50-Ned Irish, New York Nicks owner, threatened to leave
the NBA if the other owners refused to allow him to sign Sweetwater
Clifton, a black player. Thus, the Board of Governors voted six
to five in favor of signing black ball players.
1950-In the spring college draft Chuck Cooper and Earl
Lloyd joined Sweetwater Clifton to become the first black players
to play in the NBA.
1951-The NBA took away the Big Man's advantage by widening
the lane from six feet to twelve feet.
1953-The first NBA television contract was for 13 games