Thursday December 2, 2010 | Basketball in Segregation

December 1, 2010 at 11:42 am | Posted in Coming Up | 6 Comments

The 1950’s and ‘60’s were a heyday for talented basketball players in our region but many of the most talented players were left off all-star teams and out of college gyms simply because they were black. The Charlotte Observer recently published a series of articles that honored some of the greatest players whose careers were influenced by the struggle for civil rights going on around them. Yet, the camaraderie of the players, both black and white, defined race relations behind the headlines, protests and marches. We look back at that time with a reporter on the story and with a man who lived it and has been called by some, the greatest basketball player in our region.

Peter St. Onge
– Staff Reporter, Charlotte Observer
Harry Picket – Deputy Sports Editor, Charlotte Observer
Paul Grier – Former Basketball Player
Richard Vinroot – Former Mayor of Charlotte and basketball player

Mike with former Basketball player Paul Grier

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  1. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Charlotte Talks, Charlotte Talks. Charlotte Talks said: Thursday: Basketball in Segregation. Local players of the 50's and 60's on the discrimination they experienced. […]

  2. When Texas Western put an all black team on the floor to beat Adolf Krupp’s U of Kentucky for the 1966 NCAA Championship, what did this mean to these men? Was it frustrating? Of a redemption?

    We need more of these shows. The history of sports is a great way to gain understanding of our racial past.


  3. Hi Mike – I always enjoy your show and admire the way you handle your guests, but this morning’s guest, Paul Grier, made a comment that made my ears stand up and my blood boil.When asked about his compensation as a basketball player early in his career, he stated (I paraphrase), “The owner of the team was a Jew and he didn’t want to pay me anything.” The irony of a Black man being the guest on a show that focuses on how bigotry and prejudice had affected his career, making a bigoted statement about Jews and not realizing how insulting it was, just jumped out at me. If ever there was a teaching moment, this was it. I suppose you and your panel were being too polite; but I wish someone had jumped in at that moment to point out the fact that being a Jew was not the reason the owner didn’t want to pay him:the owner of the team was simply a stingy person. An apology should have been requested.

    • Is gentile a pejorative term to some?

  4. Thank You. Keep up the good work!

  5. I am a former basketball player who admired Paul Grier and learned to respect his talents.My peers and I grew up seeking and playing with the most talented basketball players Charlotte had to offer.Paul played for a team called the “Westside Five” featuring players like Albert Huey,Henry White, Walter Holtzclaw,John Crawford,George Jackson,just to name a few.Guys who played for area colleges would bring their best five to the parks to compete and more often than not go home disappointed.Charlotte has a rich tradition of talented basketball players, including Dwight Durante, who played on a state championship team at West Charlotte,staring at Catawba College,going on to play with the Harlem Globetrotters.

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