Gates, Pop, 1917-1999

Alternative names
Birth 1917-08-30
Death 1999-12-01

Biographical notes:

William "Pop" Gates was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 1989. He began playing basketball at age 10 at the Harlem Young Men Christian Association (YMCA), where he became a member of the YMCA boy's team "The Midgets." Gates captained his high school team to many victories including the All City Championship. Believed to be the only player to play in all ten Chicago championships, Gates enjoyed an illustrious professional career spanning 37 years.

He played for several professional teams, ending his career with a five year (1950-1955) tour of duty with the Harlem Globetrotters, as both a player and a coach. During the 1946-47 season Gates was signed to a white team, the Tri-Cities Blackhawks, and became the first black player hired by a professional basketball team. The signing of Gates occurred six months before Jackie Robinson was signed to major league baseball. In June 1982 Gates was inducted into the Robert L. Douglas Hall of Fame.

From the description of William "Pop" Gates scrapbook, 1930-1992 bulk (1938-1958). (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 122313865


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  • African American basketball players
  • Basketball teams--United States
  • Basketball players--United States
  • African American athletes


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