Well, Claude, when the Times calls you “Mr. Johnson” you’ve really done something:
"Mr. Johnson, founder and executive director of the Black Fives Foundation and guest curator of the exhibition, has since the mid-1990s been fascinated with the Black Fives — dozens of church, club, industrial, newspaper and community-sponsored teams that coexisted with the Harlem Globetrotters, the black team known as much for its skillful play as its clowning around. The teams had players named Cumberland Posey; Charles Cooper, who was known as “Tarzan”; and William King, known as “Dolly.” The teams had names like the Washington 12 Streeters, the Monticello-Delaney Rifles and the Vandal Athletic Club.
To Mr. Johnson, they have become as vivid as N.B.A. greats like Wilt Chamberlain and teams like the Boston Celtics.”
Here’s news of an exciting scholarship competition from Black Fives and the New York Historical Society:
"The Black Fives exhibition, on view March 14-July 20, 2014, commemorates the pre-NBA history of early pioneering African American basketball teams, players, and contributors whose efforts helped change society and pave the way for the modern game.
To celebrate the opening of the exhibition, the New-York Historical Society is conducting a scholarship contest for metropolitan area high school students. We’re asking them to submit original essays, videos or photographs on the theme of using basketball to achieve a bigger social or community cause. The winner in each category will be given $1,000 to be used toward college tuition.
Entries should answer the question: How has basketball profoundly changed New York City history, United States history, or your own personal history?
The deadline for submissions is February 24, 2014. A panel of distinguished judges will review the entries and announce winners for each category.”
"Evans was the first African American sports reporter to travel with the New York Knicks and New York Jets. He has covered the Yankees, Mets, Knicks and Nets and has been granted press credentials for over 40 Super Bowls. Evans has covered Olympiads, NBA Championship Finals, NBA All-Star Weekends, Major League Baseball All-Star and post-season events, McDonald’s Basketball Championships in Barcelona, Munich, Toronto and Paris, European Basketball Championship Final Fours, the USA Davis Cup, and the US Open Tennis Championships. He has also covered the White House and written on social issues of national importance to African Americans and others."
"In one January 1941 home game, Robinson single-handedly defeated the University of San Francisco Dons. With seconds remaining in overtime and the game tied, Robinson stole the ball and got off a buzzer beater. “It was our Jackie,” wrote the Chicago Defender, “who pulled a hovie finish to cinch the game with a spectacular heave as the gun sounded, giving the U.C.L.A. boys a 55-53 verdict.” Robinson had sent the game into OT with a game-tying bucket with 10 seconds remaining."
Henderson formed the D.C.-based Basket Ball League, which started play in January 1908 with eight teams. It played games through early May on Saturday nights at True Reformers in a room that was also used as a concert hall.
The games were far from elegant. A balcony surrounded three-quarters of the court, which was set up inside a metal cage on a floor that featured four narrow pillars planted near the corners. Teams relied on prolonged periods of passing that could last several minutes. Jump balls took place after each score. And players’ skills were far from refined. Bob Kuska, author of the book “Hot Potato: How Washington and New York Gave Birth to Black Basketball and Changed America’s Game Forever,” writes that “defenders spared no pain in halting [a player’s] path to the basket.”
"I got this very special message last week from Bob McCullough, Sr., the legendary Harlem sports icon and community leader:
“We would like to honor you for the fine work you are doing with the Black Fives.”
Date: Saturday, August 24 Time: 3:00pm Place: Rucker Park, Harlem
Please stop by if you can make it!
“On this day we also will be honoring members of the Rucker Pro League who were also on NBA Championship teams such as Nate “Tiny” Archibald and Emmette Bryant of the Boston Celtics as well as Dean Meminger and Earl Monroe of the New York Knicks.”
I’m just so humbled. What an honor and a privilege to be recognized by a man who did so much for the game, and even be mentioned in the same sentence with such company. Praise.”