Black sports history fact #28

A lot of people are familiar with the old Negro Baseball Leagues, but less have heard about the African American basketball teams known as “the Black Fives”, named after the starting five players. Since the 1891 start of U.S. basketball, white-owned, professional sports leagues excluded black athletes. African Americans formed their own  professional basketball teams, showcasing their competitive talents, despite racism.  From 1907 through the 1920s, black teams competed for “the Colored Basketball World Championship.” In the 1940s, a handful of black players were signed by white minor teams, and in 1948, Don Barksdale won a gold medal at the London Olympic Games as the first African-American player on a U.S. Olympic basketball team.  Chuck Cooper and Sweetwater Clifton came into the National Basketball Association in 1950.



About the author

Founder & Editor-in-Chief. National Association of Black Journalists. University of Central Oklahoma.

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