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The Barclays Center Honors Segregated Black Basketball Stars

Before black players were allowed to ball out as NBA superstars, there were a handful of segregated basketball teams known as “The Black Fives.”

via The Grio

The Barclays Center is linking Brooklyn’s African-American basketball history and its present-day team, the Brooklyn Nets, with a new installation of historic photographs of the Black Fives, early-20th century African-American basketball teams, throughout the arena’s main concourse.

Before the NBA, there were the Black Fives, segregated basketball teams formed shortly after the game’s invention in 1891.

To celebrate the unveiling of the large-scale photographs for Black History Month, the Barclays Center hosted an event Monday where Claude Johnson, founder and executive director of the Black Fives Foundation, greeted students, members of the local community, and descendants of Black Fives players.

Johnson spoke about the historical significance of the Black Fives players and introduced each descendant present.

The Black Fives teams were trailblazers for all African-American basketball players that have followed.

According to Johnson’s website, Black Fives players “smashed the color barrier in pro basketball and helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement.”

We salute these players during Black History Month….and every month.



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