Interscholastic Athletic Association

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Recognition of early ‘Black Fives’ players long overdue

The NCAA this year is celebrating 75 years of March Madness. Before it became an overhyped trademark, and before it became a behemoth cash cow for everyone but the players, the annual tourney for decades was a White-only affair. The celebrating hoopla shouldn’t overlook this fact. Claude Johnson founded the Greenwich, Conn.-based Black Fives Foundation in 2001. It is named for the number of Black players on the court and the basketball league of the same name that ran for nearly 50 years (1904-1950), at least three decades before the Negro Leagues. It also was a clear affront to the racially segregated unwritten rule that limited the number of players of color allowed on the court  (two at home, one on the road), a rule that existed in the NBA, its forerunner the National Basketball League, and in college hoops well into the 1960s. Continue Reading →

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