Sports

A glossary of important Black (African) American individuals from the past and present. A knowledgeable resource for all, brought to you with an artistic touch.

Hank Aaron

Hank Aaron

Henry Aaron, nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank,” is a American Major League Baseball athlete who serves as the senior vice president of the Atlanta Braves. He played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and two seasons for the Milwaukee Brewers in the American League.

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Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali

Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer, activist, and philanthropist. Nicknamed “The Greatest,” he is widely regarded as one of the most significant and celebrated sports figures of the 20th century and as one of the greatest boxers of all time.

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Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe

Arthur Ashe Jr. was an American professional tennis player who won three Grand Slam titles. Ashe was the first black player selected to the United States Davis Cup team and the only black man ever to win the singles title at Wimbledon, the US Open, and the Australian Open.

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Bob Beamon

Bob Beamon

Robert Beamon is an American former track and field athlete, best known for his world record in the long jump at the Mexico City Olympics in 1968. He broke the existing record by a margin of 55cm and his world record stood for almost 23 years until it was broken by Mike Powell.

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Riddick Bowe

Riddick Bowe

Riddick Lamont Bowe is a retired American professional boxer who competed between 1989 and 2008. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion in 1992, and as an amateur he won a silver medal in the super heavyweight division at the 1988 Summer Olympics.

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Jim Brown

Jim Brown

James Nathaniel Brown is an American former professional football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League (NFL) from 1957 through 1965.

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Rod Carew

Rod Carew

Rodney Carew is a former Major League Baseball first baseman, second baseman and coach of Panamanian descent. He played from 1967 to 1985 for the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels and was elected to the All-Star game every season except his last.

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Bernie Casey

Bernie Casey

Bernard Casey was an American actor, poet, and professional football player. He was an actor and director, known for Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Revenge of the Nerds (1984) and Never Say Never Again (1983).

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Wilt Chamberlain

Wilt Chamberlain

Wilton Chamberlain was an American basketball player who is considered one of the greatest players in history. He played for the Philadelphia/San Francisco Warriors, the Philadelphia 76ers, and the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Ernie Davis

Ernie Davis

Ernest Davis was an American football player, a halfback who won the Heisman Trophy in 1961 and was its first African-American recipient. Davis played college football for Syracuse University and was the first pick in the 1962 NFL Draft.

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Julius Erving

Julius Erving

Julius Erving II, commonly known by the nickname Dr. J, is an American retired basketball player who helped popularize a modern style of play that emphasizes leaping and playing above the rim in his career at the ABA and the NBA.

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George Foreman

George Foreman

George Foreman is an American former professional boxer. Nicknamed “Big George”, he is a two-time world heavyweight champion and an Olympic gold medalist. Outside the sport he is an ordained minister, author, and entrepreneur.

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Joe Frazier

Joe Frazier

Joseph Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981. He reigned as the undisputed heavyweight champion from 1970 to 1973, and as an amateur won a gold medal at the 1964 Summer Olympics.

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Marvin Hagler

Marvin Hagler

Marvelous Marvin Hagler is an American former professional boxer. He reigned as the undisputed middleweight champion in the 1980's, making twelve defenses of that title, and currently holds the highest knockout percentage of all undisputed middleweight champions.

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Jay Hawkins

Jay Hawkins

Jalacy “Screamin’ Jay” Hawkins was an American singer-songwriter, musician, actor, film producer, and boxer. Famed chiefly for his powerful, operatic vocal delivery and wildly theatrical performances of songs such as “I Put a Spell on You.”

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Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield

Evander Holyfield is an American former professional boxer. He reigned as the undisputed champion at cruiserweight in the late 1980s and at heavyweight in the early 1990s, and remains the only boxer in history to win the undisputed championship in two weight classes.

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Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is an American retired professional basketball player who played 20 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin ‘Magic’ Johnson

Earvin “Magic” Johnson Jr. is an American retired professional basketball player and former president of basketball operations of the Los Angeles Lakers of the National Basketball Association (NBA). He played point guard for the Lakers for 13 seasons.

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Ethel Johnson

Ethel Johnson

Ethel Blanche Hairston was an American professional wrestler whose ring name was Ethel Johnson. She debuted at age 16, becoming the first African-American women's wrestler. She was a fan favorite, billed as “the biggest attraction to hit girl wrestling since girl wrestling began.”

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Jack Johnson

Jack Johnson

John Johnson, nicknamed the Galveston Giant, was an American boxer who, at the height of the Jim Crow era, became the first African American world heavyweight boxing champion. Among the period's most dominant champions, he remains a boxing legend.

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Rocky Johnson

Rocky Johnson

Rocky Johnson was a Canadian professional wrestler. Among many National Wrestling Alliance titles, he was the first black Georgia Heavyweight Champion. He won the World Tag Team Championship, along with his partner Tony Atlas, in 1983 to become the first black champions in WWE history.

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Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan

Michael Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is an American former professional basketball player and the principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association (NBA).

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Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner

Florence Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete. She is considered the fastest woman of all time based on the fact that the world records she set in 1988 for both the 100m and 200m still stand.

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Jim Kelly

Jim Kelly

James Milton Kelly was an American athlete, actor, and martial artist. Kelly rose to fame in the early 1970s appearing in several blaxploitation films. Kelly is perhaps best known for his role as Williams in the 1973 martial arts action film Enter the Dragon.

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Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jackie Joyner-Kersee

Jacqueline Joyner-Kersee is an American retired track and field athlete, ranked among the all-time greatest athletes in the heptathlon as well as long jump. She won three gold, one silver, and two bronze Olympic medals, in those two events at four different Olympic Games.

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'Sugar' Ray Leonard

‘Sugar’ Ray Leonard

Ray Charles Leonard, best known as “Sugar” Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor. Often regarded as one of the greatest boxers of all time, winning world titles in five weight divisions.

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Joe Louis

Joe Louis

Joseph Louis Barrow, best known as Joe Louis was an American professional boxer who competed from 1934 to 1951. He reigned as the world heavyweight champion from 1937 to 1949, and is considered to be one of the greatest heavyweight boxers of all time.

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Jesse Owens

Jesse Owens

James Cleveland “Jesse” Owens was an American track and field athlete and four-time gold medalist in the 1936 Olympic Games. Owens specialized in the sprints and long jump, and was recognized in his lifetime as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history”.

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Jackie Robinson

Jackie Robinson

Jack Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball. He challenged the traditional basis of segregation that had then marked many other aspects of American life.

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'Sugar' Ray Robinson

‘Sugar’ Ray Robinson

Sugar Ray Robinson was an American professional boxer who competed from 1940 to 1965. Robinson's performances in the welterweight and middleweight divisions prompted sportswriters to create “pound for pound” rankings, where they compared fighters regardless of weight.

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Bill Russell

Bill Russell

William Russell is an American former professional basketball player who played center for the Boston Celtics of the National Basketball Association (NBA). Russell is one of seven players in history to win an NCAA Championship, an NBA Championship, and an Olympic gold medal.

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Mike Tyson

Mike Tyson

Michael Tyson is a former professional boxer who competed from 1985 to 2005. He reigned as the undisputed world heavyweight champion and holds the record as the youngest boxer to win a heavyweight title at 20 years, four months and 22 days old.

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