History of Hampton Roads African American Sports Hall of Fame
More often than not, when https://sportzonabrasil.com.br/1xbet-app a group of retired athletes gather socially their conversations will inevitably
turn from current sports events to events and individual performances of the past. They tend to recite a
litany of individual performances, robustly and colorfully embellishing some of the individual skills and team
feats of accomplishment with an epic veneer. Then the analogies begin. Who was the best team? Who was the best
running back? Who was the best point guard, forward or center? Who would have been the best neighborhood baseball
player or sprinter, if only someone could have reached him or diverted him off the streets.
Out of those conversations the Hampton Roads African-American Sports Hall of Fame went from concept to reality.
Hampton Roads is in the mid-Atlantic region of the United States encompassing the cities of Norfolk, Virginia
Beach, Chesapeake, Hampton, Portsmouth, Suffolk and Newport News. USA Today and other sports periodicals
recognize the area nationally as a hot bed of athletic talent. Occasionally, a few of the area's senior athletes
and ardent sports devotees gather for barber-shop-like conversations. Their verbal histories are colorful, if not
boisterous; trips down the proverbial memory lane.
Anecdotes of Hampton Roads' African American sports figures, supporters, and their legacies, seemed all but lost
after the death of the late Cal Jacox. Jacox, a writer and sports editor for the Journal and Guide newspaper,
chronicled the sports world from an afro-centric perspective when few others would.
About eight years ago, lifelong friends William "Shorty" Gray, a former Canadian League football star, and Horace
Balmer, a senior vice president of the National Basketball Association, were talking at the home of another
friend and sports fan named Maurice Wilson. Balmer remembers saying, "You know what? When we are dead and gone,
the younger generations will know nothing about the athletes who inspired us! We should do something about
This website is part of the result of what they did. Those weekends of conversations and fellowship became
regularly scheduled meetings. It was out sportzonabrasil.com.br/1xbet-app of those gatherings that the concept of the Hampton Roads African
American Sports Hall of Fame was nurtured and brought to fruition. A non-profit organization was established to
encourage youth to pursue personal and collective excellence. Its medium would generate a multi-hued canvas of
sports history from an African American perspective. William "Shorty" Gray was named the first president.
Flash forward to Thursday, April 3, 1997. A press conference is held at the Waterside Marriot Hotel in Norfolk, VA
to announce the nominations of the first candidates for induction. The first class to be in enshrined were two-time
NCAA championship track and field and three-time conference football champion coach William "Dick" Price; Olympic
gold medallist sprinter Steve Riddick; Two-time NBA champion forward Robert "Bobby" Dandridge, All-Pro NFL legend
Roger Brown, the incomparable ABA and NBA All-Star Julius "Dr. J" Erving, and noted public administrator George
"Hampton Roads has a rich sports history, but the entire history needs to be told," said Charles Williams, who
succeeded Gray as president of the organization. "There has been little done to preserve and document African
American sports prior to integration.
"The past lays the foundation for the future, and it is our responsibility to preserve a history of sports that's
rich in culture and use it to inspire young people."
Outside of former Journal and Guide reporters, Lem Graves or Cal Jacox, and an occasional column by Abe Goldblatt
of the Virginian Pilot, little has been done to preserve and document African American sports history prior to
Before there was a high school "phenom" quarterback www.sportzonabrasil.com.br/1xbet-app named Michael Vick, there was one named Tommy Graves. Before
there was Miami Heat center named Alonzo Mourning there was San Antonio Spur center named William Franklin. There
has never been anyone before or after Johnny "Pep" Morris, who scored 106 points in a regulation boys high school
basketball game for Norcom High School in Portsmouth, VA.
Thad Madden coached Huntington High of Newport News to 26 Virginia Interscholastic Association state track
championships. Thomas Burt went from the Portsmouth Barons and Norfolk Battling Palms to the Indianapolis Clowns
of the Negro Leagues. Charles Christian won nine Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association basketball titles and
was named the conference's coach of the year eight times. Joe Rose was the first, and perhaps only, owner and
player coach of one of the region's first semi-professional football teams. Dr. Charles Lovell was a co-captain
and the first African-American fencer at Harvard. Former NFL scout Bob Moorman helped turn a small NCAA Division
II basketball tournament into one of the most successful college tournaments in the country.
Proceeds from the HRAASHF annual induction banquet help to subsidize its scholarship fund. Thus far the
organization has awarded seventeen scholarships to deserving high school seniors in Hampton Roads.