The big moment finally arrived for Charles Hallman last week during the NCAA Women’s Final Four at the Target Center as he was doubly honored for his sportswriting legacy.
An esteemed sports columnist for the Minnesota Spokesman-Recorder (MSR) since 1990, Hallman was inducted last Friday into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association (USWBA) Hall of Fame as his family, MSR staff members, media colleagues, and other award-winners looked on.
The 1977 Michigan State University (MSU) journalism grad—Hallman earned his master’s degree from MSU in 1982—was in good company during the USWBA ceremony. Before Hallman was recognized for his outstanding achievement, several other honors were conferred.
Debbie Jennings won the Mary Jo Haverbeck Award for her service to the USBWA; Mel Greenberg was named the Gowdy Award winner for outstanding service in journalism; Charlotte Caroll received the Rising Star Award as a distinguished USBWA under 30; and the Pat Summit Most Courageous Award was given to Northeastern University junior guard Kendall Currence.
It proved to be a busy weekend for Hallman who, the night before, received the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Mel Greenberg Media Award with veteran ESPN reporter Holly Rowe. He is the first Black man to receive the award and the third Black man to be inducted into the USBWA Hall of Fame.
“It’s been a humbling experience,” Hallman said. “I was shocked when I found out about the induction and award.”
After hearing the stories and triumphs of the other award winners, Hallman, a tireless advocate of women’s sports throughout his entire career, had some stories of his own to share as he gave thanks to those who had a profound influence on his life.
He gave honor to his mother, Ethel Hallman, whose early guidance planted the seeds that would allow him to grow and mature into the writer he is today. “She’s the one who taught me how to read and write before I got into kindergarten,” Hallman remembered fondly. “She bought me my first tape recorder, radio and typewriter.”
He thanked his father Charles Hallman, Sr. for helping develop a love for storytelling, which in turn helped him with his writing. “My father was an outstanding storyteller,” Hallman recalled with laughter. “His friends always said that he could talk Jesus off the cross. He taught me to craft a story.”
Hallman made sure to mention the influence his Uncle Addus Hines had not only on his career, but on his life as well. “He always told me, whenever I was frustrated with a problem, to always use my imagination,” he said. “He was a second father to me.”
Hallman also recognized his two sons, Johnell Hallman and Charles James Hallman, and ex-wife Rev. Marchelle Hallman while highlighting the family traits of each that he says makes him proud.
“C.J. [Charles James] is a writer of spoken word and coached football and basketball,” Hallman said with pride. “Johnell loves working with the kids and has coached basketball,” he continued. “Marchelle has a love and patience for people.”
Hallman, ever the true journalist, acknowledged that, while appreciative of the awards and recognition, the timing of the awards ceremony interfered with his usual newsgathering activity.
“I missed some real big story opportunities,” Hallman said smiling. “I’m honored to be inducted into the [USWBA] Hall of Fame, but I would have still liked to have had a chance to interview and write those stories.”
For Hallman, it has been a noteworthy year not only from a professional standpoint but personally as well. He put all this in perspective while being interviewed after the ceremony.
“My twin grandsons were born this year. We had our best season of B-squad boys’ basketball at [Minneapolis] South [where Hallman coaches], and I’ve been inducted into two Halls of Fame. It’s been a very good year.”