Hall of Fame honor catches Hallman by surprise

MSR file photo Charles Hallman

Charles Hallman had no idea he was about to become part of history when he received a message from Cheryl Coward, an editor from Hoopfeed.com, a California-based website dedicated to women’s basketball. The message said she would be calling him later in the day to discuss something important.

“I assumed Cheryl wanted me to write an article for the website,” said Hallman, an award-winning columnist for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR), who has written for Hoopfeed.com in the past. “I thought it was about the Final Four.”

When Coward, a member of the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USBWA), called Hallman again he was surprised to learn that Chicago Tribune reporter Shannon Ryan was also part of the conversation. They informed Hallman that a couple of weeks ago he’d been voted into the organization’s 2022 Hall of Fame class.

The five inductees will be honored at the men’s and women’s Final Four in April.

Hallman, a native of Detroit and a Michigan State University alum, started his outstanding journalism career at KMOJ radio and then Insight News in 1986 before joining MSR in 1990.

The Hall of Fame selection caught him off-guard. “I almost dropped the phone when I heard the news,” Hallman said. 

“I was and am still overwhelmed by the honor. I’m honored and humbled,” he explained. “I never thought I would ever be a part of something like this.”

Not only is Hallman, who coaches the C-Squad boys’ basketball team at Minneapolis South High School, a part of it. He stands alone as the first writer inducted to the USBWA Hall of Fame who writes for the Black Press.

Always with his reporting antennas up, upon his selection, Hallman did some research on the Hall of Fame list and came up with some interesting facts. “When this class goes in, there will be 200 individuals inducted into the Hall of Fame,” he said, “people like [inductees] Frank Deford (Sports Illustrated), Curry Kilpatrick (Sports Illustrated), and Bob Ryan (Boston Globe).”

Hallman also pointed out that he is on a very short list of Black inductees. “There are two Black people in this group,” he continued, “the late Bryan Burrell, who worked in St. Louis and Detroit (St. Louis Dispatch and Detroit News), and William C. Rhoden (New York Times). I will be the third.”

Hallman explained how he came to be inducted into such a prestigious group. “She [Ryan] told me that I was nominated and that they gave a convincing argument on my behalf that I had done so many things for Black women in sports, writing about them and working with other reporters, so they thought I was worthy of the nomination.”

Hallman has covered the Minnesota Timberwolves, Minnesota Lynx, University of Minnesota Athletics, and MIAC to name a few, while always priding himself on promoting Black women in sports as well as others who tend to go unnoticed. He plans to continue doing so.

“I’ve been writing since I was four years old,” he said. “I’m going to write until I can’t write anymore.”