Film : "Black Magic" (re: HBCUs)

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Film : "Black Magic" (re: HBCUs)

Postby rlee » Sat May 05, 2007 4:53 pm

ESPN to Present Televised Film Event "Black Magic"
Filmmaker Dan Klores to give in-depth look at the Civil Rights Movement through the eyes of basketball players and coaches at Historically Black Colleges and Universities
New York, NY ( - ESPN Original Entertainment, in collaboration with Shoot the Moon Productions and award-winning director Dan Klores, has announced plans for ESPN to televise a two-part, four-hour film tentatively titled Black Magic about the injustice which defined the civil rights movement in America, as told through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). Co-produced by basketball legend and Winston-Salem State University graduate Earl "The Pearl" Monroe and former New York Times film critic Elvis Mitchell, the film will be aired in March 2008 with extensive support across a variety of ESPN networks and media platforms.

"Black Magic is an important story that we look forward to telling on all of our platforms," said John Skipper, ESPN executive vice president, content. "It's a living history of sports and culture that invites a broader discussion about race, society and how we think about modern day athletes and sports. It's the kind of project we embrace wholeheartedly. Dan Klores continues to prove his mettle as a filmmaker and his rare ability to reveal what we thought we knew, but turns out we didn't know at all."

"This is a story of injustice, refuge and joy," said Klores, "It's an epic that has not been told." Klores added that Ben Jobe, the 75-year-old retired coach at six HBCUs, and the 15th child of Tennessee sharecroppers, best summarized the film when he said, "I remember when it went from 'Whaddya want?' to 'May I help you?'"

From more than 200 hours of interviews and footage, the film reveals the plight of these players and coaches as a stark but proud one, filled with obstacles at every turn. From separate leagues and facilities, to championship games and titles that never qualified for the history books, all the way to secret games played between blacks and whites in defiance of the law, players and programs at HBCUs not only thrived, but laid the groundwork for the proliferation of the modern athlete. Klores conducted interviews with the widow of Clarence 'Big House" Gaines, Cleo Hill, Ernie Brown, Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, John Chaney, Bob Love, Al Attles, Pee Wee Kirkland, Earl Lloyd, Dick Barnett, Woody Sauldsberry, Bob Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Perry Wallace, Dave Robbins, Harold Hunter, Miriam Samuels, Charles Oakley, Donnie Walsh, Bobby Cremins, Howie Evans, the widow of John McLendon, historians Skip Gates, Cleveland Sellers and Milton Katz, amongst others.

Klores's directing credits include The Boys of Second Street Park and Ring of Fire: the Emile Griffith Story which both premiered at the Sundance Film Festival. In addition, his recent film, Viva Baseball captured the 2006 BANFF global award and the Imagen Foundation's 2006 "Best Documentary for TV or Film" award. His feature length documentary, Crazy Love, to be released on June 1 by Magnolia Films, also was premiered at Sundance. Crazy Love, the rollicking and disturbing story of an obsessive relationship between a married man and single woman, won the Jury Prize at the Santa Barbara Film Festival.
Last edited by rlee on Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:47 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Black-college basketball is focus of film

Postby rlee » Sat May 05, 2007 4:55 pm

Black-college basketball is focus of film
Monroe, former WSSU star, is assisting as co-producer
By John Dell
Tuesday, April 10, 2007

The names, faces and legendary stories about the history of black-college basketball have never been brought together. Film director Dan Klores is going to try.

Klores and two co-producers, including Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, have joined with ESPN to produce a special movie highlighting the exploits of some of the best talent that college basketball has ever seen. Because it was the era of segregation, when the best black players in the country went to historically black colleges, the exploits of many of those black players went unnoticed.

"It just wasn't covered except by a few who wrote for the black newspapers," said Klores, who spent countless hours acquiring film footage of some of the best players in the 1950s and '60s.

Klores is proud that he has some rare footage of Cleo Hill, the first star at Winston-Salem State in the late 1950s, who was the first first-round NBA Draft pick from an HBCU (historically black college/university), by the Atlanta Hawks.

Klores, however, goes deeper than just showcasing the players and coaches on the court from HBCUs. In the four-hour film, which is scheduled to be played over two nights on ESPN next March, Klores also details how Hill was given the cold shoulder by some of his Atlanta teammates, ultimately shattering Hill's confidence.

"It's truly something to hear what some of these guys had to go through," Klores said.

Klores talked at length with Clara Gaines, the widow of Big House Gaines, and also spent numerous hours with Monroe and several other players and coaches. He estimated that he had about eight hours of interviews and highlights that he had to edit down to make it a manageable movie.

Black Magic is the working title, according to Klores, who got the idea for the film because of his friendship with Ben Jobe, 75, who coached at six different HBCUs and was the 15th child of a Tennessee sharecropper.

"It's amazing," Klores said about what he found out in doing the research. "I was interested in this because of its historical impact with the civil-rights movement and because of the basketball part of it."

John Skipper, an ESPN executive vice president, said that the project is something that the network is proud to be tackling.

"It's a living history of sports and culture that invites a broader discussion about race, society and how we think about modern-day athletes and sports," Skipper said.

Monroe has taken a hands-on approach to the movie, and said that going in-depth to get the whole story has been fun.

"I think it's going to be exciting and that's the reason I got involved in something like this," Monroe said. "It has implications that are far-reaching when it comes to everything that surrounds basketball and how it was back in those days, when we as black players were limited on where we could go to college."

Monroe said that the movie touches on several areas, but he is most proud of the section of the movie devoted to Gaines, who died in April of 2005.

"At least somebody like Coach Gaines is in the hall of fame but there are so many other coaches and players who didn't get the recognition they deserve," Monroe said. "That's what this is about."

Monroe also acknowledged that coaches such as the late John McClendon deserve more credit than most realize.

McClendon, who many consider the real inventor of the famous Four Corners offense, learned the game from John Naismith, who invented the game. McClendon, who put N.C. Central on the map, is one of the five main subjects of the film. Monroe said: "Coach McClendon was one of Naismith's last students, so he learned from the guy who invented the game."

McClendon constantly pushed the NCAA into allowing black schools into its tournament, but Klores said that the NCAA stonewalled McClendon.

McClendon, who is in the basketball hall of fame as a contributor, was just voted into the college hall of fame for coaching.

Klores said that the four other threads in the movie focus on Gaines, who had 828 wins in his 47-year career at WSSU, John Chaney, the former coach at Temple, Bob Love and Earl Lloyd.

What many don't know about Chaney is how much of a great player he was, Klores said.

"John Chaney was unstoppable as a player at Bethune-Cookman," Klores said. "He told me that he would score 40 points one night, 38 the next game and so on and nobody knew about it."

Klores also points out the lack of notoriety for the dominant NAIA program of Tennessee State in the late 1950s. Tennessee State, which was Tennessee A&I at the time, won three straight NAIA championships and was as talented as any of the NCAA champions during that time, according to Klores.

"Everybody talked about the big deal with North Carolina and its 50-year anniversary of its title. But nobody mentions the anniversary of those great Tennessee State teams," Klores said about winning those titles in 1957, '58 and '59. "McClendon was the coach and they had seven guys who went on to play pro ball. In those three years those teams were 105-7."

This is also the 40th anniversary of the 1966-67 WSSU basketball team that went 31-1 and won the NCAA Division II national championship.

"I know Texas Western gets a lot of ink for what they did in beating Kentucky, but we were one of the first black schools to win an NCAA national title," Monroe said.

Klores also goes into details about the secret games between black schools and white schools, which were illegal at the time. Among those games were when Billy Packer of Wake Forest and two of his teammates used to go to Whitaker Gym on the campus of WSSU to take on Hill and two others.

"Those kind of stories happened in a lot of places," Klores said. "It was about guys looking for the best competition and that's what Billy was doing."

Klores interviewed several former players and coaches who helped him get a grasp of what that time was like. There were so many rules about where black schools could play and what parts of the country they couldn't go to.

Among the many people that Klores interviewed were: Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, Al Attles, PeeWee Kirkland, Dick Barnett (the star of those Tennessee State teams who has just been inducted into the college hall of fame), Bobby Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Dave Robbins and Charles Oakley. He also interviewed McClendon's widow and historians Skip Gates, Cleveland Sellers and Milton Katz.

"This is a story of injustice, refuge and joy," said Klores. "It's an epic that has not been told."
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Pearl and Attles Speak at "Black Magic" Premiere

Postby rlee » Thu Feb 07, 2008 12:44 pm

Earl Monroe and Al Attles Speak at "Black Magic" World Premiere

Durham, NC, February 06, 2008 --( Full Frame Documentary Film Festival (, has announced that Earl Monroe and Al Attles will participate in the panel discussion following the world premiere of the theatrical cut of “Black Magic”. The premiere will be held Monday, Feb. 11 at 7:30 p.m. at the Carolina Theatre, located at 309 W. Morgan St. in Durham.

Attles and Monroe, prominent North Carolina basketball legends, are also two of the most influential black figures in the history of the sport. After graduating from North Carolina A&T State University, Attles became one of the first black NBA coaches in 1979 and persevered to become the second to win a NBA title. Monroe, a Winston-Salem State University graduate, was named one of the 50 Greatest Players in NBA History after an astounding 13-year career. Dan Klores, director of “Black Magic” and the 2007 critically acclaimed film festival hit “Crazy Love”, will join Attles and Monroe on the panel to discuss the history that inspired the film. “Black Magic” tells the story of the injustice that defined the Civil Rights Movement in America, through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended historically black colleges and universities.

Individual tickets for the “Black Magic” World Premiere and panel discussion are $12 and may be purchased at the event or by visiting the Box Office at Tickets for both the pre-screening party and film are available to Full Frame members for $35 and $50 for non-members.

“We are honored to work with Earl Monroe and Al Attles,” said Peg Palmer, executive director of the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival. “They are an inspiration to the area and we are honored to have them participate in the panel discussion to follow the world premiere of ‘Black Magic’.”

About Full Frame:
Founded in 1998, Full Frame Documentary Film Festival was created with the mission to draw attention to the ideas and values inherent in documentary filmmaking. The Full Frame family has been on the cutting edge of documentary programming with curated series such as Why War?, Music and Documentary, Hybrid Forms, 2001: Fast Forward and the 2006 showcase of the first hurricane Katrina documentaries. Full Frame has been named as the premiere documentary film festival in the United States by publications such as The New York Times and IndieWIRE. The Full Frame Documentary Film Festival is produced by Doc Arts Inc. Presenting sponsors in 2008 are Duke University and The New York Times. For more information, please visit

About Black Magic:
Directed by award-winning director Dan Klores and in collaboration with ESPN Original Entertainment and Shoot the Moon Productions, “Black Magic” will make its world premiere at the Full Frame Documentary Film Festival on Monday, Feb 11. “Black Magic” is a new four-hour, two-part film scheduled to air commercial-free on ESPN in March 2008. The film is a story of the injustice that defines the Civil Rights Movement in America, told through the lives of basketball players and coaches who attended historically black colleges and universities. The film is produced by basketball legend and Winston-Salem State University graduate, Earl Monroe, and narrated by Wynton Marsalis, Samuel L. Jackson and Chris Paul. Feature interviews include Willis Reed, Avery Johnson, Ben Wallace, John Chaney, Bob Love, Al Attles, Pee Wee Kirkland, Earl Lloyd, Dick Barnett, Woody Sauldsberry, Cleo Hill, Bob Dandridge, Sonny Hill, Perry Wallace, Dave Robbins, Harold Hunter, Charles Oakley, Donnie Walsh, Bobby Cremins, Howie Evens, the widows of coaches Clarence “Big House” Gaines and John McLendon, and historians Skip Gates, Cleveland Sellers and Milton Katz.

Patty Briguglio
MMI Associates, Inc.
(919) 233-6600
PR Firms Raleigh, NC


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Postby rlee » Mon Feb 11, 2008 2:54 am

Basketball film scores as civil rights history lesson
Rick Maese
Baltimore Sun

There's embarrassment and shame in this admission, but you need to know: We forgot about Woody Sauldsberry.

He was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1958, just the second black man to win the award. He played for four NBA teams and later the Harlem Globetrotters. Retirement wasn't always easy. Diabetes claimed one of his legs and had its sights set on the other. When Sauldsberry died last year in Baltimore, there was no obituary in the next day's newspaper and no old highlights aired on that night's SportsCenter. We forgot about him, but Earl Monroe and filmmaker Dan Klores didn't. We're fortunate for that.

Sauldsberry is one of many characters who give life to Black Magic, a new film that revives a lost slice of history, examining the civil rights movement through the eyes of the basketball players and coaches from historically black colleges and universities. It's a gripping and educational four-hour journey, and to underscore the importance of the story, ESPN is airing the documentary commercial-free over two nights, March 16 and 17.

Monroe, drafted by the Baltimore Bullets out of Winston-Salem State in 1967, is not just one of the film's riveting subjects, he's also listed as a producer.

"I don't think any of today's players really know the story," Monroe said last week after a private screening of the film in New York. "This will be an educational thing for them. Hopefully, they'll take it to heart.

"You're looking at so many guys who go into the pros at such a young age. If they can understand more about the people who came before and helped them get to where we are now, they can have a bigger appreciation for the whole process. If you don't know what it was like before, you can't really appreciate what you have."

Klores' film credits include the critically acclaimed Crazy Love. He had set out to create an epic multipart documentary on basketball, a la Ken Burns. From his research, Black Magic emerged, a story that was just itching to be told. Klores conducted dozens of interviews, even came to Baltimore and interviewed Sauldsberry just weeks before he died. Klores successfully preserved a story that was at risk of falling through the cracks of time.

Klores said it's a "curse of progress that people forget," but it's not just progress. We're talking about a natural byproduct of the passage of time. Think about it: Today's college freshmen were 1 or 2 when Michigan's Fab Five was taking on Duke. A 30-year-old basketball nut would have been in diapers when Monroe retired. And anyone under the age of 45 has learned about the civil rights movement mostly from books and television. As evidenced by the anecdotes and interviews in Black Magic, though, it's clear the education we received has been massaged and edited many times over.

In the film, we learn of Cleo Hill, who could have been one of the greatest had he not been blackballed out of the game.

And we learn about Vanderbilt's Perry Wallace, the first black player in the Southeastern Conference. He had to compete while university-sanctioned, pompom-waving, skirt-wearing cheerleaders chanted the most vile of racial epithets during games, followed by "Rah! Rah! Rah!" Of course, that's when the games were actually held. Once, Vanderbilt's game against Mississippi State was canceled. The official reason, as reported by Sports Illustrated at the time, was so players could "concentrate on their schoolwork." Can you imagine a school canceling a game for that reason today?

We learn about the Orangeburg Massacre, in which police killed three South Carolina State students protesting segregation at an all-white bowling alley. It was Kent State minus the media coverage -- and the white victims.

We learn about the culture of the black school, the special relationship it enjoyed with its students and the temperamental relationship its athletes sometimes shared with much of the world.

In an interview last week, Monroe talked about his Winston-Salem State team scrimmaging against Billy Packer's Wake Forest squad more than 40 years ago. But the teams had to play in secret in the middle of the night. "Obviously, we used to win those," Monroe said with a laugh.

Monroe went from Winston-Salem to Baltimore right in the middle of the civil rights movement. Since I arrived in town, it has always struck me as curious that Baltimore so proudly reveres some of its athletic forefathers, but others, like Monroe, seem like an afterthought.

"Your horizon is wherever you choose to focus it," Monroe said of how he was embraced during such a tempestuous chapter of Baltimore's history. "My horizon wasn't Towson or those places out there. It was Baltimore. The city. That was my horizon and my existence."

Monroe acknowledged he probably lost some Charm City support when he forced a trade from the Bullets to the New York Knicks, but he said his days in Baltimore are still near and dear. It was a special time to be a young black man, he said.

Before tip-off each night, Monroe would sit in the locker room, carefully studying Lerone Bennett's What Manner of Man, learning about the early work of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. The reverend's speeches would still be echoing in Monroe's ears well after the first whistle blew. "That was what had me so juiced up," Monroe said.

"When I see this film, each time I sit down and watch it, it's just like reliving that era," he said. "Sometimes it's good, sometimes it's bad."

Monroe and Klores say they hope the film connects generations. Basketball is the vehicle, but the message and lessons are much bigger.

Sport has changed since then, evolving at a quicker pace than much of society. The race forward makes it easy to focus your eyes solely on the future. Jalen Rose, an NBA veteran and current television analyst, watched an early version of Black Magic and said today's players are in the midst of a "corporate revolution." They're mostly ignorant to the "cultural revolution" men like Monroe witnessed and endured. That's too bad.

We should all remember. The struggle. The successes. Men like Cleo Hill and Woody Sauldsberry.

"The younger guys who get a chance to see this, I don't know if they'll be able to relate to it, but it's all fact. It's history," Monroe said. "And we need to remember this history, so we can all learn from it."
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Film captures history of black college basketball

Postby rlee » Fri Feb 22, 2008 7:28 am

HARDWOOD LEGENDS: Film captures history of black college basketball, with Winston-Salem right in the middle

By John Dell

Basketball fans will be given a peek at the movie Black Magic today at 7 p.m. at Winston-Salem State’s K.R. Williams Auditorium.

The movie, co-produced by Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and directed by Dan Klores, tells the long and winding history of black college basketball that coincided with the civil-rights movement in America. The stories told are of the players and coaches who attended, and thrived, at historically black colleges and universities when segregation was a way of life.

From the secret game played between N.C. Central and an all-white Duke team in 1944 that John McLendon, the N.C. Central set up, to the coaching career of the late Clarence “Big House” Gaines of Winston-Salem State, the movie gives an in-depth look at those times. The many interviews and highlights provide a history lesson that has been missed by many.

Clara Gaines, the widow of Big House, has seen pieces of the four-hour documentary-style movie that will air commercial free over two nights on ESPN on March 16 and 17. Chris Paul of Winston-Salem and the New Orleans Hornets will introduce the second night of the movie.

“I think everything came off real well,” said Gaines, who plans to attend the 90-minute screening tonight. “I think House would have liked it because it sheds light on how things really were for a lot of folks.”

Clara Gaines gives her insights as well in the film, and there are also old interviews with her husband, who died in April of 2005. Gaines spent 47 years at WSSU, amassed 828 wins and produced players such as Monroe and Cleo Hill.

And there are also details of the controversial end to Gaines’ career in 1993, when he was forced into retirement.

“He didn’t want to quit, and they could have had him back,” Clara Gaines says in the movie.

Hill was a star for the Rams in the late 1950s and was good enough to be drafted by the St. Louis Hawks of the NBA. But he was unofficially banished from the league after one season because of the color of his skin, and the film details his plight.

Billy Packer, the college-basketball analyst, was playing for Wake Forest when Hill was at WSSU. He has said that Hill was one of the best college players he ever saw.

Hill wound up coaching in junior college in New Jersey where he had nearly 450 wins.

Another fascinating story is that of Ben Jobe, a former coach of Southern University, who carried on the legacy of the late McLendon. One of Jobe’s players at Southern in the 1990s was Avery Johnson, who, although undersized, made it to the NBA and won a championship with the San Antonio Spurs in 1999. Johnson is now the head coach of the Dallas Mavericks.

McLendon, who also coached at Tennessee State during his career, won three straight NAIA championships. Tennessee State played in the NAIA Tournament because black schools weren’t allowed to play in the NCAA Tournament in the late 1950s.

McLendon’s teams were among the first in the country to run a fast-break offense, and he also developed the Four Corners offense that Dean Smith used later at North Carolina.

In the secret game that McClendon arranged in 1944, N.C. Central won 88-44, but, as the movie shows, no students were allowed to watch the game because nobody but the two teams knew about it. McLendon is in the Basketball Hall of Fame, but as a “contributor” rather than as a coach, a distinction that some people consider a slight.

Gaines’ WSSU coaching career is highlighted, as is that of Monroe and the 1966-67 NCAA Division II championship game won by the Rams. Monroe averaged an incredible 41.5 points a game his senior season.

Klores, who went to great efforts to interview former players and coaches and had nearly 200 hours of interviews on tape, said: “It’s a story of exclusion and therefore invention. The film reveals the blacklisting of players, the murder of innocent children, the pride of attending an HBCU, the psychological effects of desegregation and the long-term debates surrounding integration.”
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'Black Magic' documents civil-rights-era basketball at black

Postby rlee » Sat Feb 23, 2008 1:53 pm

'Black Magic' documents civil-rights-era basketball at black colleges
By Frank Fitzpatrick

Philadelphia Inquirer

The story filmmaker Dan Klores tells in Black Magic is really one of a parallel universe.
While mainstream basketball, populated almost exclusively by whites, was beginning to find a larger audience in the 1950s and early 1960s, a more up-tempo, stylish shadow game was being played at the traditionally black colleges.

Klores has assembled a startlingly frank, four-hour documentary on the civil-rights-era history of basketball at those schools. ESPN will air the film, without commercial interruptions, over two nights, March 16-17.

A 90-minute version, which drew two standing ovations when it was screened for NBA players and officials at last weekend's All-Star Game in New Orleans, will be shown at 6:30 tonight at Cheyney University's gym.

"I had set out to make a film about the history of basketball," explained Klores, 58, a Brooklyn native whose earlier films include Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story and Viva Baseball. "But as I learned more and more about the traditionally black schools, I realized that's what interested me. It's a film about exclusion and invention."

At Bethune-Cookman, Winston-Salem, North Carolina A&T and other primarily Southern colleges, basketball was transformed from a staid game of picks and weaves into a faster, more entertaining game by black players who could not crack the racism and quota systems at major-college programs.

Far from the spotlight's glare, Tennessee State's Dick Barnett was stroking soft fadeaway jumpers; Philadelphia's Earl Monroe was spinning around dazzled defenders; Cleo Hill Sr. was playing above the rim; and North Carolina A&T coach John McLendon was winning games with innovations such as the four-corners offense.

"There are so many great stories," said Al Attles, the Golden State executive who was drafted fifth by the Philadelphia Warriors out of North Carolina A&T in 1960. "It would be nice if today's players saw them and recognized the people that paved the way for them."

The screening at Cheyney should have a particularly powerful resonance.

That school, where coach John Chaney - called "Jesus Christ" in his playing days at Bethune-Cookman - won a national title, now has Cleo Hill Jr. as its men's basketball coach.

The story of Hill's father is one of the most compelling in Black Magic.

Cleo Hill Sr. was an effervescent Winston-Salem star who looks astoundingly contemporary in the grainy black-and-white footage Klores managed to unearth.

"Howie Evans, a sportswriter with the Amsterdam News, said he was the greatest player of his generation, black or white," Klores said.

Hill became the No.1 pick of the St. Louis Hawks in the 1961 draft.

"I hadn't even thought about the NBA," said Hill, a Newark, N.J., native. "But in 1960, I saw that Al Attles was taken in the [fifth round], and that gave me hope."

St. Louis was a segregated city, and while Klores believes the NBA's quota at the time might have been four black players per team, the Hawks already had Philadelphian Woody Sauldsberry and Sihugo Green.

Race quickly became an issue. Before a Hawks-Celtics exhibition game in Lexington, Ky., black players were refused service at a hotel restaurant. Seven blacks on the two teams refused to play.

Hawks star Cliff Hagan criticized their boycott, and owner Ben Kerner soon traded Green and Sauldsberry, leaving Hill as the team's only black.

Hill scored 27 points in his Hawks debut. But Southern-born stars such as Hagan and Bob Pettit, uncomfortable with Hill's more freewheeling style, started withholding the ball from him.

"They weren't going to give up the ball so this black player could score more points," noted Sonny Hill, the Philadelphia basketball legend who was interviewed by Klores.

Kerner asked coach Paul Seymour to not start Hill. When Seymour refused, he was fired and replaced by Andrew Levane and, later that season, by Pettit.

"Seymour told me that he knew that if he benched me, he'd have to look at himself in the mirror," said Hill, who recently retired as coach of Essex County (N.J.) College. "And he didn't want to do that."

Hill's playing time dwindled. His spirits and confidence plummeted. By season's end, his NBA career was over and, he now believes, he was blackballed.

"Mr. Kerner told me there were at least two other teams that wanted me," Hill recalled. "But when I contacted them, they said, 'Sorry.' I didn't know Mr. Kerner was that powerful."

Klores said one of the more complex and interesting characters he discovered while making the film was Chaney, the longtime Temple coach.

"[He's] a fascinating combination of intellect and an anger that's still bubbling," he said.

Chaney was Philadelphia's high school basketball player of the year but got no scholarship offers. He told Klores about arriving at Bethune-Cookman with one pair of pants.

When Chaney played, the NCAA tournament would not take traditionally black schools. Neither would the NIT. The annual NAIA event in Kansas City accepted only one.

"There were eight black schools that had to compete in this special pretournament event to get into the NAIA," Klores said.

Klores hopes his film will open the doors of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame to more players and coaches from these schools. Of those who have reached the Hall - such as Willis Reed - virtually all are there because of their NBA careers.

"John McLendon was inducted into the Hall as a contributor, not as a coach," Klores said.

Longtime Tennessee State coach Jerry Johnson, who compiled 821 victories and an NCAA College Division title, isn't even in the Hall.

"And that," said Klores, "is disgraceful."
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Film on black colleges a slam dunk

Postby rlee » Wed Mar 12, 2008 3:42 am

Film on black colleges a slam dunk

By Garry D. Howard
Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel

Dan Klores stands 5-foot-9, weighs about a buck-seventy and is white.

His emotionally uplifting film, "Black Magic," is a neck-craning 7-feet tall, can jump out of Madison Square Garden and is Earl Lloyd black (but more on Earl later).

No, the Brooklyn-raised director of this captivating documentary - which details the triumphs and utter degradation experienced by the student athletes who played basketball at historically black colleges and universities - does not remotely resemble the protagonists of his heart-wrenching film.

Still, the words uttered by those he featured in this long-overdue project, produced in conjunction with ESPN, speak volumes.

"He literally saved my life," said former Southern University coach Ben Jobe, one of many captivating stories captured by Klores that slam back the glory days of college basketball at schools such as Winston-Salem State, Tennessee State and Morgan State.

"(Dan) got me back into life," Jobe told me at the premiere of "Black Magic" at the Reagan Center in Washington, D.C., before grabbing my arm and insisting that he had been misdiagnosed by his doctors, mis-medicated and was suffering through a debilitating depression when Klores approached him about what amounted to his life story.

After unleashing his demons by speaking from the very depth of his being to Klores, the soul-freeing, jitterbug step was back in Coach Jobe's repertoire and this legendary leader was instantaneously rewarded (he added that it was a miracle) with control of his memorable life.

String of stories
The film itself, a compilation of serendipitous stories strung together in a lovely fashion by Klores, starkly illuminates a time in our past that we need to remember. And in this film, Klores, a graduate of Brooklyn's famed Lincoln High School, scores as if he were that stud shooting guard at his alma mater.

A sometimes meandering chronological journey through the 1940s, '50s, '60s, '70s and beyond, "Black Magic"covers a lot of ground, and you can get lost in the verbiage in some spots. But I promise you it will move your soul, transporting you back to a time in America where the hair on your neck stands at attention.

Klores will take you to that uncomfortable place where injustice was the norm and the civil rights movement was just a homeless puppy. And through insightful interviews with talented athletes and doggedly determined coaches, you walk through the past mostly grimacing, becoming a silent spectator to a history that is not taught in school, but should be.

Meet the best
You get to meet high schoolers who would dare to be the greatest; strong black men such as one of the film's producers, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, an NBA Hall of Famer who is arguably the best basketball player in black college history. All Monroe did was strap Winston-Salem State, coached by the legendary Clarence "Big House" Gaines, on his wide shoulders and carry it to the Division II championship in spectacular fashion before starring for the then-Baltimore Bullets and the New York Knicks.

But the true, give-it-to-me straight guts of this sinewy history lesson are the improbable lives of the young men you may or may not recognize, names such as Bob Love, Earl Lloyd, Pee Wee Kirkland, Willis Reed, Sonny Hill, Dick Barnett, Ernie Brown, Howie Evans and Cleo Hill (my favorite story), to name a few.

Love had such a wicked stuttering problem that when he retired from the Chicago Bulls, he could not find employment. Instead, he found himself relegated to the menial job of dishwater at minimum wage, after headlining in the NBA - in Chicago, no less.

Selected by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1968 NBA expansion draft, Love led the team in scoring in the preseason but was then given the painful news that he was not in the Bucks' plan and would be cut.

Love said he begged the team to at least seek a trade. Milwaukee obliged (can you say "bad move" really loudly?) and Love persevered, promptly leading the Bulls in scoring - seven consecutive seasons.

But what makes the documentary work is this: The script comes out of Love's mouth at the time he felt everything that made him cringe.

This is Klores at his very finest. And there is so much more.

Tears will certainly flow, especially when you watch the segment about South Carolina State, where 27 "protesting" African-American students were shot, three killed, by local police on campus in early 1968. It is known as the Orangeburg Massacre, but not by many.

Smiles will seem a city-block wide when watching the exploits of Monroe, who taught a nation that fancy "black" moves and good basketball do go hand in hand while shooting more than 60% from the floor and averaging 41.5 points per game during his spectacular senior season at Winston-Salem State.

Earl Lloyd, a former superstar at West Virginia State who is one of the most personable people I have ever met, was the first black man to play in the NBA, and he wears it well.

"I have handprints all over me," Lloyd told me at historic Sale Hall on the campus of Morehouse College in Atlanta at the first of the two "Black Magic" premieres I attended. "You're only special when other folks think you're special."

Well, after watching four hours of "Black Magic," you will witness a sheer force of will that is flat-out inspiring.

But all Mr. Lloyd wanted to know, at the end of the film, was whether he, and all of his colleagues, had passed the 200-year test, referring to the struggle African-Americans have had to endure as a people in this country.

"Did we pass the test?"

Yes, you did, Earl.

Still, I was left with this to ponder: Will all of Klores' wonderful work - more than 200 hours of interviews and footage culled down to a tight four hours - resonate with today's youth?

"Most young people today don't dwell on the past," Monroe told me at Morehouse College. "They dwell on the future."

Well, Monroe, as one of the film's producers, put some of his own money on the line with this project.

And like his patented - yes, we're talking about patented - spin-dribble jumper, Dan Klores' "Black Magic"hits nothing but the bottom of the net.

This, my friends, is a must-see film.

Note: Of course, Bob Love was drafted by Cincinnati, not the Bucks
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ESPN documentary on black-college basketball

Postby rlee » Fri Mar 14, 2008 1:46 am

King Kaufman's Sports Daily
ESPN documentary on black-college basketball dribbles aimlessly at times, but scores.

Earl Lloyd, the first black player in NBA history, is talking about his four years at West Virginia State, a historically black college.

"It's like, magical, man," he says. "At graduation everybody's crying. Sobbing, man, boo-hooing. They don't want to leave, man. They don't want to leave this place."

Lloyd is part of an amazing array of former players and coaches in the two-part, four-hour documentary "Black Magic," which ESPN is airing without commercials beginning Sunday night after the NCAA Tournament selection show. Part 2 runs Monday night. The sprawling movie is the story of basketball at historically black colleges and universities -- HBCUs -- which also makes it a story of racism and the civil-rights struggle of the mid-20th century.

"I lived right behind this white high school and of course never could go to it," says Perry Wallace of his Nashville childhood. Wallace became the first black varsity athlete in the Southeastern Conference when he joined the Vanderbilt basketball team in 1967. "And so us colored kids watched through some bushes. In effect, what we were watching was the mainstream. White America. It was everybody else, and then there was us."

"Black Magic" tells the story of pioneers such as Lloyd and Wallace, stars such as Willis Reed, Bob Dandridge, Dick Barnett and the incomparable Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, who co-produced the movie, and black-college basketball legends you might not have heard of.

One of those, and this column pleads guilty to not knowing him, is John McLendon, "the father of black-college basketball," who once had a secret meeting with legendary Kentucky coach -- and famed segregationist -- Adolph Rupp. Rupp had asked McLendon to talk to him. He wanted some basketball advice.

McLendon, who had apprenticed to the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith, at Kansas, though of course he wasn't allowed to play there, ran a fast-break style that was a stark contrast to the plodding half-court game then popular at white schools. That up-tempo strategy became a hallmark of black-college ball as McLendon's disciples spread through the coaching ranks.

One of those disciples, Ben Jobe, is, along with Lloyd, the heart and soul of "Black Magic." A player at Fisk University in the early '50s and then a longtime coach at several schools and in the pros, Jobe, 75, is the movie's most memorable figure. He's the closest thing "Black Magic" has to the two giants at its center, McLendon and Clarence "Big House" Gaines, who won more than 800 games as a coach, mostly at Winston-Salem.

"Black Magic" was made by the prolific documentarian Dan Klores, who among other things made the excellent "Ring of Fire: The Emile Griffith Story" in 2005. Klores has said that he set out to make a Ken Burns-style overview history of basketball, but got bored with the idea of one more round of interviews with Michael Jordan and company and instead decided to focus on what he calls "an epic that has not been told."

It's a shame, as Monroe has acknowledged, that "Black Magic" wasn't made 10 years ago, when McLendon and Gaines were both still alive. Both men's widows appear.

But what's here is at times fantastic. Grainy clips of games from the '40s, '50s and '60s, from McLendon's early teams to Monroe's patented spin moves under Gaines' tutelage at Winston-Salem. Interviews with superstars such as Monroe and Reed as well as lesser figures such as Bob "Butterbean" Love, a sweet-shooting forward for the Chicago Bulls in the early '70s, and with a brilliant two-way guard from Bethune-Cookman named John Chaney.

Chaney, known today as the former longtime coach at Temple, found, like most black players in the early '50s, that he had almost no place to go as a player when his college career ended.

"He would have been in the pros easily," Jobe says, "but they weren't ready for too many of us in those days." The Harlem Globetrotters were pretty much the beginning and the end of professional opportunities at the time, Chaney says. The Globetrotters weren't looked upon as a joke by African-Americans, but Chaney says he just couldn't play the showman.

"I couldn't just go out and do tricks with the ball," he says. "My trick comes when you try to get the ball off me in a game. But I couldn't do it, and I got just a little bit upset over the fact that, my goodness, here I am out here, this is my skill going to waste."

The waste went both ways, depriving players of opportunities to play and teams with opportunities to field great players.

Lloyd, the pioneer who became a scout and coach with the Detroit Pistons in the '60s, recalls advising team management to take Monroe with the first pick of the 1967 draft. The Pistons balked, not believing that the competition Monroe faced in black-college basketball was legitimate. Detroit took Providence star Jimmy Walker instead.

"We passed up Earl Monroe," Lloyd says, still incredulous 40 years later. "Yup." He nods, then closes his eyes and shakes his head.

The civil-rights movement and the virulent brand of overt racism practiced in America for much of the 20th century are well-covered subjects in documentary filmdom. Klores includes footage of Klan rallies and such almost as if it's required. Yet the story of these things is so deep and varied that, done skillfully, a thousand movies could be made without much overlap.

All the time Chaney spent as a major media figure in this country: Did you know he was a star player who would likely have been an NBA star had he come along a little later? Or been white.

Wallace talks about playing road games in the SEC with Vanderbilt. "The bands playing 'Dixie,' always the Rebel flags," he says, "and the cheerleaders leading cheers -- against me in particular. 'Get the nigger, get the nigger, rah-rah-rah.'"

Klores takes time out from basketball to tell the story of the 1968 Orangeburg, S.C., massacre, an incident similar to the Kent State shooting two years later but not nearly as well known, for reasons that Dr. Oscar Butler, a one-time South Carolina State ballplayer, makes plain: "The only difference in Kent State and South Carolina State is that the kids at Kent State were white and the ones here black."

The basketball connection is a tenuous one, that one of the three killed that night was a promising high school player. The second half of the documentary, the two hours airing Monday, meanders a bit as it follows the careers of the men introduced in the first half. Viewers might have to remind themselves why so much loving attention is being paid to the 1970s New York Knicks in a movie about historically black college basketball. It's because Reed and Monroe -- the co-producer -- starred for that team.

"Black Magic" becomes a melancholy tale in a different way in those last two hours: As predominantly white schools integrated, many of the best black players were drawn away from the HCBUs. The late '50s are presented as a turning point, when a quartet of black future superstars -- Wilt Chamberlain, Elgin Baylor, Bill Russell and Oscar Robertson -- all went to mostly white schools.

With the world of HBCU basketball in decline, Gaines' decades-long run of success at Winston-Salem came to an end and he was forced out. His widow, Clara, says, smiling but her voice catching, "In the end, we just all wished that integration hadn't taken place, because it did change things."

Though it did exact a price, that change was of course a positive. "Black Magic" starts with Ben Jobe's mentor, McLendon, conducting a secret game between his players and a non-varsity team from Duke because it was illegal for whites and blacks to play together, then holding that secret meeting with Rupp, who wouldn't let himself be seen consulting a black man.

It continues through violence, insults and opportunities denied and lost. But it ends with one of Jobe's disciples, Avery Johnson, who played for Jobe at Southern University and was coaching the NBA's Dallas Mavericks before he turned 40.

"Black Magic" wanders a bit, but it's time well spent with a story that, like so much of African-American history, is both triumphant and tragic. And even if the story weren't half so compelling, it'd be worthwhile just for the old clips of Earl the Pearl
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Re: ESPN documentary on black-college basketball

Postby Jon Scott » Fri Mar 14, 2008 3:43 am

rlee wrote:King Kaufman's Sports Daily

One of those, and this column pleads guilty to not knowing him, is John McLendon, "the father of black-college basketball," who once had a secret meeting with legendary Kentucky coach -- and famed segregationist -- Adolph Rupp. Rupp had asked McLendon to talk to him. He wanted some basketball advice.

McLendon, who had apprenticed to the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith, at Kansas, though of course he wasn't allowed to play there, ran a fast-break style that was a stark contrast to the plodding half-court game then popular at white schools. That up-tempo strategy became a hallmark of black-college ball as McLendon's disciples spread through the coaching ranks.

That's an interesting comment to me about Rupp. I have seen reference to McLendon and Rupp meeting before, but only one time. It was at Wes Unseld's house when they were both recruiting the Louisville star.

Here's one example,

Link to NYT Article

although this example doesn't explictly state this was their only meeting, I've seen other interviews with McLendon where he does claim this.

As an aside the quote from the article says:

He met the legendary Adolph Rupp in 1964, when both coaches were trying to recruit Wes Unseld, Rupp for Kentucky and McLendon for Kentucky State.

''All I remember was that he was coming out, I was going in and he had a very, very grim look on his face,'' McLendon said of Rupp. ''He didn't return my greeting. He was preoccupied. Mrs. Unseld met me at the door and said: 'Come on in and talk to Wes. I don't think he's going there.' ''

This is inconsistent with the known facts of Unseld's recruitment in that it's been widely reported and discussed that soon after Rupp went to Unseld's house for his recruiting visit, Unseld left for another engagement and Rupp spent the rest of the time talking to his parents.

But back to the original comment, I'm curious where the claim of a secret meeting between Rupp and McLendon comes from and what they are supposed to have talked about.

The article seems to almost suggest that Rupp was looking for pointers on the fast-break, which is certainly possible. But Kentucky was certainly not one of the 'plodding half-court game' teams that the article alludes to. Again if that's what the gist of the comment was intended to be.


PS, As far as Kaufman's labelling of Rupp as a 'famed segregationist', well people here know what I think of these claims, especially given that no one to date has ever produced a public comment made by Rupp supporting segregation, but instead there are numerous comments by Rupp supporting integration, some which resulted in death threats made to him. I already sent a letter to author about this.
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Dan Klores interview @

Postby rlee » Fri Mar 14, 2008 2:28 pm

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John McLendon article

Postby Jon Scott » Tue Mar 18, 2008 3:04 am

For anyone interested, I recently came into possession of a magazine Clair Bee's Basketball from 1965 which has a number of interesting articles. One is written by John McLendon and talks about his career to date and his dream of playing for the NCAA National Championship, and IMO serves as a good backdrop for a lot of the themes mentioned in "Black Magic".


I did have a couple of questions and comments. For one, it is interesting to me that it mentions that McLendon went against the advice of his father who wanted him to go into Pre-Med at Kansas (IIRC Part I of Black Magic told an anecdote about McLendon following his father's advice by going into Phys Ed at Kansas, maybe the truth is somewhere in between ?).

The other questions was also about Kansas and James Naismith. For one, McLendon mentions that Naismith went from Springfield to Kansas around the same time McLendon entered school (which would have been the early 30's). But Naismith was an assistant / teacher etc. at Kansas in the early 20's if not sooner. Did he go back to Springfield and return again to Kansas ?

The other question about Naismith is that McLendon reiterates the point that was made in Black Magic, saying that Naismith was McLendon's inspiration for full-court, fast-break basketball.

I was really surprised by this. I don't know a whole lot about Naismith but the impression I always got was that he ended up being against a lot of advancements in the game that made it more entertaining, competitive etc. I'm curious on what basis can it be said the Naismith was a proponent of the fast break for example.

Below is the article:


The Big Dream - by John McLendon
Clair Bee's Basketball - Vol. 1 No. 1, 1965, pp. 48-50.

DREAMERS of the big dream don't settle for a climb halfway up Mt. Everest when they want to go to the top. They don't settle for a second-place finish when they want first. They don't settle for a double when they want a home run.

My big dream is an NCAA basketball championship.

It's an ultimate goal I established when as a youngster of six I saw my first basketball game in Kansas City, Missouri.

I was so engulfed by it that I went against my father's wishes to enroll in the Department of Physical Education at the University of Kansas instead of Pre-Med as he desired. At the time, I was well aware the financial remuneration in coaching would never match that of the medical profession, but I felt I would be otherwise compensated. I certainly think I have been.

Still, I'll never feel my coaching career has been complete until I have the NCAA title and so far I haven't even had a team that has been eligible. In order to get a team into the NCAA tournament I'll have to break the color line in major college coaching ranks.

For Negro athletes in America, this is the golden era. Today, more Negroes are playing American games as Americans - and as athletes first, and Negroes second - than ever before in the history of sports. The democratic ideal in this country is never more apparent than in the field of athletics.

Before I went to Kentucky State College in 1963 I applied at several different schools. I came close to getting the head coaching job at the University of Pacific. They paid my plane fare out there for an interview and indicated I was a top candidate. But somebody else got the job. I don't hold a grudge. I just feel there was a more qualified candidate.

However, it was a discouraging experience and it was one of those times when I was willing to forget all about fulfilling my boyhood ambition. But always the urge comes back again. It's not that I'm unhappy at Kentucky State. It's an excellent school, and, in addition to being basketball coach, I'm the head of the Physical Education Department. I like the idea of building a strong basketball program at a small school.

Still the burning desire for an NCAA championship is there. It's a flame that just won't be extingiushed.

My ambition to get to the top began when I was in high school. I said then that I wanted to learn my basketball from the man who I felt knew the game best, Dr. James Naismith at Springfield, Mass. College. After all, he had invented the game.

The cost of going to school in Massachusetts was prohibitive. I knew I would have to go closer to home. Then the summer after I graduated Dr. Naismith left Springfield to go to the University of Kansas as a physical education professor so I enrolled there.

I was aware I wouldn't be able to play basketball at Kansas. The school's athletic program wasn't integrated then. But I wanted to learn basketball from the one man I felt could teach me the most.

Dr. Naismith was a remarkable man. He was way ahead of his time as far as coaching philosophies were concerned. He believed in the ultimate game - with the fast break and the full court press -- in an era when 50 points in a basketball game was almost unheard of.

He taught me a lot about the game of basketball and about people.

When I was a junior at Kansas, Dr. Naismith helped in getting me a job as an assistant coach at Lawrence Memorial High School in Lawrence, Kansas where the university is located. Then, in 1936, I was named head coach, although still only a senior at Kansas. At this point there wasn't a single doubt in my mind in what direction I wanted to go, and, when my first team at Lawrence won the Kansas-Missouri Athletic Conference Championship, it just whetted my appetite.

After graduating from Kansas in 1936 as the first Negro to get a degree in Physical Education at the school, I went to Iowa University for my Master's degree. This was followed by three years as an assistant at North Carolina College at Durham, N. C., and then 12 years as a head coach there. Sam Jones, currrently with the Boston Celtics, was one of my proteges at North Carolina College. After that I spent a year as head coach at Hampton Institute.

Then came the big break -- I was hired as head coach at Tennessee A. & I., one of the nation's strongest Negro schools in athletics. Tennessee A. & I., later to be known as Tennessee State, attracted some outstanding basketball talent in my five years there - players like Dick Barnett, John Barnhill and Ben Warley, who all went on to play professional ball.

With personnel like this we had considerable success, winning 149 games and losing only 20 between 1954 and 1959. During that period we made the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics' National Tournament five times, winning the championship three straight years. This was a distinct honor for me because no other coach in the country had won three national championships.

The biggest break, and most surprising turn of events. in my career came in 1959 when out of the blue I was offered the job as head coach of the Cleveland Pipers, a new entry in the National Industrial Basketball League.

I got the job because of my college record. I was in my fifth year at Tennessee State and had the second best career percentage in college coaching. Adolph Rupp at Kentucky was No.1, and Ed Sweeny of the Pipers offered him the job first. Rupp didn't want to leave Kentucky.

So, Sweeny came down from Cleveland to talk to me when my club was playing Villa Madonna at Covington, Ky. First he said: "I didn't know you were a Negro." Then he added quickly: "But I want you to know it doesn't make any difference. The job is yours if you want it." He didn't have to ask me twice.

The Pipers were an integrated team with more white players than Negroes. Having a Negro coach was a break-through in race relations, but in sports the Negroes presence is so natural and normal that hardly anyone ever comments on the basis of race and color.

I was still relatively unknown to much of the country and had to prove myself as a basketball coach all over again. My first Piper team finished fourth in the NIBL and capped a successful season by handing the U.S. Olympic team of 1960 their only defeat.

In 1961 the Pipers won the National AAU title and the team formed the nucleus of a U.S. All-Star team which toured Europe and Russia. I was named coach.

Russia and other countries in the world hadn't advanced as far in basketball then as they have now. We won all eight games with little difficulty.

This year, after coaching the NAIA All-Stars in the Olympic Trials, I was selected to again coach an All-Star team on a European tour which again included games with Russia.

The Russians have made remarkable progress in basketball and they're taking a do-or-die attitude towards winning the Olympic title from the United States in Tokyo in October.

This year we won only six of the 12 games on the European tour. There were three basic reasons. One, the rest of the world is geting stronger in basketball. Two, I don't think the United States team had adequate time to prepare for the tour. And, three, because of conflicts, we didn't have the best players in the country.

The NCAA divorced itself from the international tour and thereby caused some of our Olympic players to stay home. We'd hoped to tour with the Olympic team but wound up with only five players . . . and three of them already had the international experience we had hoped to give the others.

We can't take a ho-hum attitude just because this country has never been beaten in Olympic competition.

When I took the team to Russia in 1961 they didn't have a jump shot. Now they shoot it like we do and it's practically indefensible. There isn't a jump. shooter in the United States the Russians haven't imitated. They're also playing more pattern basketball. They ran patterns in the 1960 Olympics, ones a good scouting report could pick apart. This isn't the case now.

Russia had cameras on our team at all times during the tour this year. They wanted to pick up any little thing that might help them in the Olympic games.

Seven of the players on the Russian squad have been playing together since 1958. Their average age is in the late 20s. They'll be too old for the 1968 games so they want to win it all this year.

Our own Olympic teams have undergone some drastic changes since 1960. Then they were made up mostly of amateur and post-graduate players. Now it's largely collegians, sorely lacking in international experience.

Our people just don't have the least idea of the tremendous political influence the foreign countries put on the losses we sustain.

My career with the amateur Pipers was short-lived. In 1961 they joined the professional American Basketball League and I went along as the first Negro coach in pro basketball.

We won the Eastern Division title the first half of the season and then I was made vice-president in charge of player personnel and we went on to win the league championship.

After the 1962 season I left the Pipers and became an American Basketball Specialist to South East Asia where I had some remarkable experience teaching and coaching basketball in Malaya. I was also a consultant in 1962 at the Asian Games in Diakarta, Indonesia.

Another high-point in my career came in 1962 when I was inducted into the Helms Basketball Hall of Fame, alongside such noted coaches as Henry Iba, Ward Lambert,Branch McCracken, Adolph Rupp, Tony Hinkle, Everett Dean, Forest Allen, Clair Bee and Ed Diddle.

Then in 1963 I got back into college coaching again at Kentucky State College. That revived my dream, and some day, I intend to make it come true.

Pictures from the article



Coach John Mclendon has turned out top teams everywhere he has coached. Here, Jim Robertson of his Kentucky State team, grabs rebound against Tennessee State. McLendon's boys put on a strong effort, winning 104-85.


Kentucky State's Bob Campbell (34) blocks out Ft. Knox player as McLendon's men win again.
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Re: ESPN documentary on black-college basketball

Postby Jon Scott » Thu Mar 20, 2008 1:25 pm

rlee wrote:King Kaufman's Sports Daily
..... One of those, and this column pleads guilty to not knowing him, is John McLendon, "the father of black-college basketball," who once had a secret meeting with legendary Kentucky coach -- and famed segregationist -- Adolph Rupp. Rupp had asked McLendon to talk to him. He wanted some basketball advice.

McLendon, who had apprenticed to the game's inventor, Dr. James Naismith, at Kansas, though of course he wasn't allowed to play there, ran a fast-break style that was a stark contrast to the plodding half-court game then popular at white schools. That up-tempo strategy became a hallmark of black-college ball as McLendon's disciples spread through the coaching ranks.

Can someone help me out here. I finished watching the documentary (which I found to be very good overall, and had some great film footage and music) but was expecting to hear about this 'secret' meeting between McLendon and Rupp (that King Kaufman and a few other early reviewers have mentioned) but I didn't see anything about it at all.

Did I somehow miss it or was it cut out ?

Also, I'm curious about the reference to Virginia Union coming up to play two exhibition games against New York City players (the documentary said primarily Long Island Univ. players). I'm curious when this happened and what the circumstances around it were.


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Re: ESPN documentary on black-college basketball

Postby John Grasso » Thu Mar 20, 2008 6:58 pm

Jon Scott wrote:Also, I'm curious about the reference to Virginia Union coming up to play two exhibition games against New York City players (the documentary said primarily Long Island Univ. players). I'm curious when this happened and what the circumstances around it were.

The first game was on 3/24/38 at the Renaissance Casino in Harlem.
LIU won 57-40. The NYTimes article states that it was for the benefit of the NY Urban League but doesn't provide any background as to how or why the game was arranged. It does include the boxscore and mentions the attendance of 1,200. It says that "Bill King" was high scorer with 17 points. Since Bill King, better known as Dolly King was one of LIU's star players, it's probable he was one of the reasons that Virginia Union came north.

The second game was on 12/27/40 at the Golden Gate Arena in Harlem.
Virginia Union played Brooklyn College and won 54-38. Two former NYC high school stars, Mel Glover of DeWitt Clinton and Wendell Burton of Stuyvesant were members of the Virginia Union team. Glover scored 13 points in the game and Burton is not in the box score.

Apparently Virginia Union came up to NYC a few times in that era. I found a game between them and Virginia State University at the Renaissance Casino in 1942 and another against a Metropolitan All-Star team on April 4, 1942.

This NYT research has also uncovered the fact that Virginia Union star Bob Daugherty signed with the Buffalo team of the NBL in July, 1946.
Apparently he did not make the team since I don't find his name in the record books.
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Virginia Union

Postby luckyshow » Thu Mar 20, 2008 8:54 pm

These games were under-reported even in the New York black press (New Age and Amsterdam News)

A few other similar games:
the following 1938 game was billed as a first:
First Metropolitan N.Y. Team to Play “All-Negro” Team:
1/22/1938 Brooklyn College 46 - 31 Hampton Institute
not sure of venue

New York Urban League Benefit game, at the Renaissance Casino (138th St. & 7th Ave.)
3/20/1944 Morgan State 61 - Brooklyn 45

Here is an earlier game:
Benefit game, at Rockland Palace (280 West 155th):
3/5/1932 C.C.N.Y. 43 - Howard University 26 1,500 (High scorer: Moe Spahn, 14 points.) 41-20?

[Charity game for the Gibson Fund of Harlem & the Washington Community Chest.] [1st g.: Bronx YMCA 23-19 135th St. YMCA Seniors]

Exhibition Doubleheader, at Rockland Palace
3/12/1932 Bill Webb's CCNY All-Stars 27 - George Gregory Harlem All-Stars 24 [1st g.: YMCA Seniors W-L NYU Physical Education]

Post-season game, at the Renaissance Casino (138th St. & 7th Ave.):
3/24/1937 L.I.U. 43 - Harlem Y.M.C.A. 31

The following 1939 games were the graduated seniors from the LIU varsity that year that was undefeated:
3/30 Kentucky State 39 - L.I.U. Seniors 35 (site unknown)
at the State Palace Court, Harlem:
3/31 Blackbirds Basketball Team 37 - Kentucky State 33 [L.I.U. Seniors]
at Philadelphia:
3/__ L.I.U. Stars 61 - Virginia Union 50
at New York:
3/__ Virginia Union 36 - L.I.U. Stars 28 (Dates unknown/unfound)

12/22/1945 at 15th Regiment Armory, 5th Ave. & 143rd St.:
Virginia Union 46-40 Yeshiva University

12/27/1945 at Olympia Stadium, Philadelphia:
Morgan State 52-37 Yeshiva University

2/1/1947 at Golden Gate Arena, Lenox & 142nd St., Harlem:
West Virginia State 78 - Yeshiva Universsity 48

There were also annual games between black colleges held in New York,
2/14/1947 Lincoln U. v Morgan State at Golden Gate Casino
3/11/1949 Morgan State v Virginia Union at Golden Gate Casino
many others
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Postby rlee » Sun Mar 23, 2008 2:14 am

Black Magic or Blackout??
By Harold Bell

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- ESPN’s airing of “Black Magic” chronicling the rich history of black basketball in America was a buzzer-beating jump shot to win and a controversial foul call at the end the game to lose.

The four-hour, two-part television show carried black basketball from the playgrounds, high schools, colleges and on to its final destination -- the NBA. This brought full circle the hopes and dreams of most black athletes, a life in the fast lane of professional sports.

For some it was their only way out.

The show’s title, “Black Magic” was the footprints in the sand of the man who revolutionized offensive guard play in basketball -- Earl Monroe. He is also a part-time magician. I found the show to be enlightening and educational even though I lived most of it.

I was a student/athlete and played football and basketball for the legendary Clarence “Bighouse” Gaines at Winston-Salem State. During my era (59-63) I was the only athlete under 6-foot-5 he permitted to play two sports.

Tim Autry and Emmitt Gil, my football teammates could not chew bubble gum and dribble at the same time but they were tall. He called Tim and Emmitt “My Special Effects.”

My freshman year, I scored 27 points in a losing effort in the annual Alumni vs. Varsity basketball game. My friend and mentor the legendary Jack DeFares had returned to Winston-Salem to finish work on his degree.

He lobbied for me to play for the shorthanded alumni. It was easy to see why Jack was a New York playground legend and an All-Time great at Winston-Salem. He simply said, “Keep your eyes on me and follow my lead.”

His slick ball handling and moves to the basket was responsible for me leading both teams in scoring. "Bighouse" knew I could score but he made it clear that he had only one basketball and it belonged to Cleo Hill.

Like it or not I had to wait my turn. I satisfied my hunger for the game by playing at the local YMCA and on the intermural team. I was in a unique position at Winston-Salem State I was there to compare three of the greatest players to ever play for “Bighouse,” DeFares, Hill and Monroe up close and personal.

I was there for the return of DeFares, I was there for the departure of Hill and I was there to witness the arrival of "Black Jesus", better known as Earl “The Pearl” Monroe among other names.

"Black Magic" participants Al Attles and Earl Lloyd were two dear friends and inspired me to be all that I could be. I was in Landover, Maryland when Al and the Golden State Warriors upset and beat another close and dear friend K. C. Jones.

The Warriors beat the Washington Bullets in four straight games to win the NBA Championship. Al and K. C. made pro sports history by becoming the first two Black Americans to face-off in a championship final.

I was there also to encourage the late great legendary Red Auerbach to step in support Earl Lloyd’s induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame. The NBA had overlooked his career. Thanks largely to Red, the Basketball Hall of Fame finally inducted him in 2002 as a contributor.

He was the first black to play in the NBA.

Hopefully, Mike Wise of the Washington Post was watching ESPN and received an education on who was the first and last word when it came to “The Improviser” of guard play in the NBA.

Mike and his colleagues are the best examples on why we need to celebrate Black History 365 days of the year if we don’t our youth would believe that “Pistol Pete” Maravich revolutionize guard play in the NBA.

Mike wrote those exact words in his column during the NBA All-Star Weekend last month. Pete was a great player in his own right. As Black Americans we must be careful of what we read and who we read. I will be looking for his column saying “I made a mistake” but I am not holding my breath.

The enlightening stories for me, started with Perry Williams, Athletic Director at American University and the first black to play at Vanderbilt University, the perseverance of NBA player Bob “Butter Bean” Love and without a doubt the hidden story that Ben Jobe was one of the greatest college basketball coaches of all time.

Coach Jobe's accomplishments and basketball success stayed under the radar of major media for decades. ESPN’s "Black Magic" made it perfectly clear he could have easily been a success on any level, but was denied to excel because he was black.

The real story of the NBA lynching of Cleo Hill by the St. Louis Hawks was long overdue. In "Black Magic", there was mention of Cleo being the greatest player of his era. He could have been the greatest player of any area where he was allowed to play.

Cleo had every shot imaginable. He is the greatest offensive basketball player I have ever seen with the exception of Washington, DC’s Elgin Baylor. He was “Michael Jordan” in North Carolina long before Michael Jordan.

Jordan didn’t really blossom into a great offensive ball player until the pros.Cleo was a basketball icon and legend on Tobacco Road long before his pro career. To believe it you had to be there to see him.

When Cleo played you would have thought the ACC Tournament was being held on the campus of Winston-Salem State. White folks traveled from all over the state to see him play. Cleo Hill was worth the travel time and price of admission.

There were times when our own students could not get into the games. There was nothing Cleo could not do on a basketball court. His offensive arsenal consisted of left and right hand hook shots, set shots, a jump shot from any and everywhere, a great rebounder when he needed to be, he was fearless driving to the basket and he was a 80% foul shooter.

Cleo could dribble the ball up court to break the press. He was no slough on defense either, when “Bighouse” needed someone to stop the other team’s hot shooter, he looked no further than Cleo or teammate Tommy Monterio.

Cleo was drafted No. 1 by the St. Louis Hawks in 1961 and everything was uphill from there. When he arrived in St. Louis the KKK better known as “The Nest” was waiting for him.

The “Nest” consisted of players Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellette. They did everything but string him up by his neck. When Coach Paul Seymour took a stand against “The Nest” the owner Ben Kerner fired him. When Cleo returned to campus to finish up his classes to graduate after his rookie year he was a beaten man.

He would come around to our room and sit and talk with Barney and me for hours about life with the St. Louis Hawks. His story was something out of the 1800’s. In 2008 little has changed black men are still having their ideas and goods stolen and are asked to go in the backdoor and side doors to re-claim them.

Spooks are still sitting by the door opening it for some and closing it for others.

When we start to talk about the injustices of the sports establishment you have to look no further than Coach John McLendon. White coaches led by the legendary Dean Smith stole his ideas and made them their own.

The basketball establishment led by the white media had fans believing for years that Coach Smith invented “The Four Corners.” A strategy devised by Coach Mac to take time off of the clock in the closing moments of a game while sitting on a lead.

How can you vote one of the greatest innovators of the game into the hall of fame as a contributor? Check the records and see if Adolph Rupp and Dean Smith have contributor before or after their names.

In all fairness, if Coach Mac is a contributor than every coach who followed James Naismith into the hall is also a contributor. The word “contributor” needs to be changed, as it relates to Coach Mac and Earl Lloyd. If history is the judge “Brothers and Sisters” in media will see no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil and write no evil.

McLendon was definitely “an officer and a gentleman” he was in a class by himself when it came to having a compassion for helping others. Johnny Mac was a pleasure to be around. He is one of the best examples on how one can be a class-act and black folks will Player Hate on you anyway.

Barney Hood and I would often talk about Coach Mac and how he would always be uplifting when talking about his friends and former players. Fairness is a lesson that never seemed to have rubbed off on some of his colleagues.

The man many of us called “Big Daddy” when others called him Bighouse would some times forget we were watching him. He could be very selfish and self serving. Bighouse had a big heart but he could also be heartless. He went ballistic when his friend and colleague Coach Tom “Tricky” Harris of Virginia Union hired a white coach, Dave Robbins (in-focus).

He slowly burned when CIAA Commissioner Leon Kerry (out of focus) and his co-horts hijacked the conference right before his eyes. Some of the things he said about his colleagues and student/athletes made many us wonder whether he really liked himself. None of us escaped his wrath including Black Jesus.

In many ways we have taken on the characteristics of the establishment. When it comes to fairness it is becoming a lost art in the black community. We have also become more exclusive instead of inclusive.

For example, how were the contributions of icons Sam Jones (It is rumored he wanted to get paid), Spencer Haywood, Curly Neal and last but not least Red Auerbach and Walter Brown of the Boston Celtics be overlooked?

Jones is in the NBA Hall of Fame and voted as one of the NBA’s 50 Greatest, he could have easily added more insight. His mentors were two of the greatest coaches of all time, Johnny Mac and Auerbach.

Without Red’s contributions “Black Magic” would still be out of focus and a dream deferred. Haywood’s contribution turned the plantation mentality of college basketball and the NBA into a “Pay Day Heaven” for today’s NBA players.

In a landmark decision, Spencer successfully challenged in court and won his case to enter the NBA draft before graduation. He became the first ever NBA Hardship case. Every NBA player making over $5,000 owes him a debt of gratitude.

He should be in the NBA Hall of Fame and a member of The 50 Greatest Players ever, for his play on the court and his legal battles in court. He was working in the community long before the NBA CARED and he put the POWER in Power Forward.

He is being Black Balled by the NBA for standing up to be a man in America and for his alleged drug use. If drug use is one of the measuring rods used for his induction, than the hall should be almost vacant.

One of the show’s characters, drug dealer Pee Wee Kirkland is a New York Playground basketball legend and former Norfolk State player. I saw some his best customers in “Black Magic.”

Curly Neal is a graduate of Johnson C. Smith University and his name is synonymous with the internationally known Harlem Globetrotters, he was also out of focus in Black Magic!

How could Black Magic forget New York basketball icons Pop Gates, Jack DeFares and Carl Green?

Sound bites we could have done without: Some things are better left unsaid, playground and NBA Broadcast legend Sonny Hill describing former Tennessee State and New York Knicks’ guard Dick Barnett was definitely out of focus.

He said “Dick Barnett was a functional illiterate.” Dr. Dick Barnett graduated from Tennessee State and now holds a PHD Degree.

ESPN NBA studio analyst and Winston-Salem State alumnus Stephen A. Smith and basketball scrub was blackballed from the show for stepping on “Superman’s Cape.”

“Bighouse” was having trouble winning games at the end of his career (828 wins) Smith writing for the Philadelphia Inquirer made the mistake of calling for his firing. He has been out of bounds and out of focus ever since.

What is my excuse for being out of focus? I walk and march to a different drum beat
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Postby rlee » Sun May 17, 2009 5:31 pm

Treasures Lost to Time
NY Times

Shaquille O’Neal, already a basketball legend, was speaking in his soft, husky voice about men with names like Woody Sauldsberry, Cleo Hill and Ben Jobe.

“Some of these guys, I’d never heard of in my life,” he said. “So I guarantee you the younger players have never heard of them.”

Dan Klores’s stunning four-hour documentary film, “Black Magic,” which will receive a Peabody Award on Monday, opens with a scene from America in 1944 that will seem for some people as ancient and backward as the Middle Ages.

It was a Sunday morning in March in Durham, N.C. A team of white basketball players from the Duke University Medical School who had bragged that they were the best players in the state had agreed to play an illegal game against an equally proud team from the North Carolina College for Negroes.

There is no way to overstate the danger of such a meeting. Black people in Durham were not even supposed to look too closely at white people. Some would step off the sidewalk into the street as a white person approached. For these two teams to play a basketball game was considered improper contact of the highest order.

As the white players walked toward the North Carolina College gym, they pulled their jackets over their heads. The game was to be kept as secret as a meeting of criminal conspirators, which is what the participants actually were. In addition to the coaches and the players, there were two referees and a timekeeper. No spectators. No cheerleaders. Just two teams going at it in an otherwise empty (and securely locked) gym.

North Carolina College won 88-44, but the participants needed very little urging to keep their lips sealed. The fact that the game was played was kept secret from the public for half a century.

Klores’s film is about the many great players and coaches from the nation’s historically black colleges and universities who fought their way through tremendous obstacles, racism chief among them, to make outstanding contributions to the game of basketball. Men like Ben Jobe, a brilliant coach whose fast-breaking, high-scoring teams won more than 500 games. (“I didn’t know how to lose,” he said.) And Cleo Hill, a scoring wizard at Winston Salem State Teachers College who was viewed by many as the best college player in the country in the late 1950s and early ’60s.

“We’re talking about absolutely phenomenal players and coaches,” said Klores, who directed “Black Magic,” which was televised last year by ESPN.

I don’t have room to list even a handful of the astonishing basketball feats pulled off by the world-class talent at those colleges and universities. But for some odd reason, despite the undisputed greatness of so many players and coaches, they have not been welcomed into the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.

Players and coaches from black colleges who excelled in the National Basketball Association have made it to the hall (which is not run by the N.B.A.). But those blacks from earlier years who were denied a full opportunity to display their talents because of their color deserve recognition, as well.

The Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., opened its doors to the greatest players of the old Negro leagues. What’s wrong with basketball? With very, very few exceptions, those doors at the Basketball Hall of Fame have remained closed.

Hall officials, including the president of the board of directors, Mannie Jackson, who is black, have said that they would establish a commission to look at this issue, but nothing has happened yet.

Fran Judkins, the hall’s director of development, told me that she felt “anyone who had made an inroad in basketball should probably be considered.” But I’ve detected no real enthusiasm at the hall for doing the right thing by these most deserving athletes and innovators, which is a shame. They played in an era in which signs on a general store could read, “No Negro or Ape allowed in building,” and when the N.C.A.A. would not let black colleges compete in its tournament.

They are growing old now, and many have already passed on. They are in danger of being completely forgotten.

The list of famous basketball names joining with Klores in the clamor for the hall to reach out aggressively to the greatest names from this fast-receding era is growing: Shaquille O’Neal, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe (who was a producer of “Black Magic”), Willis Reed and Julius Erving, among others.

“I just think it’s an injustice that those who really deserve a shot at being in the Hall of Fame are not getting it,” said Monroe, who played for historically black Winston Salem State University. “We’re watching all that knowledge and history leave us. And the longer we wait on this, the less history we’ll have to go back to.”
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Postby mtamada » Thu May 21, 2009 10:12 pm

rlee wrote:Black Magic or Blackout??
By Harold Bell


Cleo was drafted No. 1 by the St. Louis Hawks in 1961 and everything was uphill from there. When he arrived in St. Louis the KKK better known as “The Nest” was waiting for him.

The “Nest” consisted of players Bob Pettit, Cliff Hagan and Clyde Lovellette. They did everything but string him up by his neck. When Coach Paul Seymour took a stand against “The Nest” the owner Ben Kerner fired him. When Cleo returned to campus to finish up his classes to graduate after his rookie year he was a beaten man.

This is the part that I wonder about. Other players have mentioned St. Louis as a city fraught with racial tensions, but I haven't heard much about the team itself, in particular Pettit, Hagan, and Lovelette. Lenny Wilkens had joined the team the year before, and according to was playing 43.5 minutes per game in his second season (albeit over only 20 games, presumably an injury or maybe military service took him away from the other games). So I wonder about the true existence and power of this allegedly racist clique.

I could more easily believe that Cleo Hill may have been a victim of an unannounced quota on Black players, but I don't know if that was the case either. And it goes without saying that Hill 34.6% shooting percentage may have had something to do with his lack of further NBA employment.
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Postby rlee » Sat May 23, 2009 11:51 pm

I've heard many people who I respect & who are knowledgeable of the era say that Cleo's poor FG % stems from how messed up he was from the treatment he received. According to them, his confidence was shattered.
Last edited by rlee on Sun May 24, 2009 5:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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