Ex-Duquesne Ace May Become First Negro Player in NBA: Boston Celtics Expected to Sign Chuck Cooper, Towering 6 Foot, 5 1/2 Inch Cage Star, Daily Racing Form, 1950-05-11


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Ex-Duqueshe Ace May Become First Negro Player in NBA Boston Celtics Expected to * Sign Chuck Cooper, Towering 6 Foot, SVi Inch Cage Star By BARNEY NAGLER NEW YORK, N. Y., May 10.— Dont look now, but theres a race going on within the abbreviated National Basketball Association for the distinction of bringing the first Negro campaigner up to. the big leagues of courtdom. Ahead of the pack, and lucky to be so, according to thoroughly reliable word on the basketball front yesterday, is the Boston team in the truncated league, which will have only 12 outfits operating next season. The Boston team, which finished last in its" division the past season, has its draft hooks in Chuck Cooper, the 6-5 z rebound star from Duquesne. Cooper was taken in the draft by the Celtics, which is another way of spelling Boston, but there was some doubt that he would make the jump into play-for-pay basketball on that basis. The word had been out that Cooper, a soft-spoken fellow who has won friends all over the place, would join the Harlem Globetrotters, that fabulous aggregation now engaged in picking up some loose loot over in Europe. Prefers League Competition Cooper, however, changed his mind a week or so ago and so notified Abe Saper-stein, the man who holds the purse strings for the Globetrotters. In effect. Cooper said, "I would much rather get my pro start in league competition, where Ill have the chance to meet all kinds of people in many places." This could be considered a blow for Saperstein, who needs new players all the time. But, for Boston, it was a saving grace. The beantown aggregation was woeful in. its weakness last season. Cooper can prove a reservoir of needed strength. Three other NBA teams are rushing headlong into the race to have the first Negro players. Baltimore, Washington and Ft. Wayne are thus engaged, with none having an inside track. . Baltimores player-coach, Buddy Jean-nette, long has said he wanted such a competitor on his team and the latest word is that he has such a one in Ben Bluitt, late of Loyola of Chicago and currently operating with the Globetrotters. Washingtons selections are Earl Lloyd and Chuck Hunter, both of West Virginia State, while Ft. Wayne has latched onto Jim Thompson of Kentucky State. To Receive Between ,500 and ,000 No "matter how this situation works out, the Negro newcomers will find themselves in a streamlined-league that will have a much better chance of survival. For one, Boston, which will pay Cooper between ,500 and ,000 for his first season as a pro, will find the new streamlined schedule, involving only a dozen teams instead of the 16 that went before, a better revenue producer. Of the five teams that were dropped, three are meeting in Chicago Saturday in an effort to form a league of their own. These are Sheboygan, Waterloo and Denver. Oshkosh also will have a voice at the organization meeting, which will be led by Doxie Moore, former coach, of Anderson. The new league will be made up of the weakest links in the NBA, but will have the advantage of shaping a. schedule within its own orbit instead of one which involved thejsmaller city teams into long trips. Under the NBA set-up, the home team took down all the receipts, while the visitors played for the fun of it. Thus, the big city teams were at a disadvantage, generally, because they found only small arenas in the small cities, while they were forced to play in big, high-rent stadiums. All that has been straightened out under the new set-up. If professional basketball doesnt make it next season there will be no alibis. The NBA has worked out its own destiny and it must live by its decision. In a democratic sense, however, it is moving in the right direction. Chuck Cooper, the Duquesne star, can attest to this happy development.

Persistent Link: https://drf.uky.edu/catalog/1950s/drf1950051101/drf1950051101_2_2
Local Identifier: drf1950051101_2_2
Library of Congress Record: https://lccn.loc.gov/unk82075800