Honoring Dr. Edwin B. Henderson, The Grandfather of Black Basketball--
Yesterday, the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame inducted its Class of 2013. The group was a strong set of players and coaches, who devoted their lives to the great game of basketball. One of the inductees was Dr. Edwin Bancroft Henderson. Though inducted posthumously, Dr. Henderson did wonders for the game of basketball and rightfully deserves this induction.
Dr. Henderson was always a leader. He organized a youth baseball league and wrote reviews on the games at the age of 12, and later trained referees in the game of basketball. After basketball was created by Dr. James Naismith, Henderson himself learned the game before graduating from Harvard. As he mastered the sport, he took it to the nation's Capital, where resources for African-American children were more than limited.
He introduced youth--both boys and girls-- to the sport they had largely been excluded from until 1904. From this point, he shared the game as a tool for youngsters to not only learn teamwork, dedication, and work ethic, but also as a means for further their education. By 1905 Dr. Henderson had created the Eastern Board of Officials, to fill the gap in the referee industry. A year later, he started the Interscholastic Athletic Association and Public Athletic League in the D. C. area. These organizations were fixtures in the African-American community, as it grew to love the game of basketball.
As his life continued, Dr. Henderson assisted the formation of other youth basketball leagues, wrote the book Negro in Sports, and even played center, himself. This great Black Fives video (give it about 30 seconds to start) talks about the trailblazing life Dr. Henderson lived. He did more for African-Americans in sports, and the sport of basketball in general than many of us would ever realize.
It is about time he gets inducted into the Hall and receive the recognition he deserves.
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