Black History Month: Spotlighting Athletes

By: Pamela Stern

February is Black History Month and the Spring Creek Sun is spotlighting Black Athletes who have been influential and who has made an impact in the industry. The Spring Creek Sun has complied a list of some of the prominent artists and their accomplishments.

Hank Aaron-Henry Louis Aaron, nicknamed “Hammer” or “Hammerin’ Hank,” was an American professional baseball right fielder and designated hitter who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball, from 1954 through 1976.

Muhammad Ali-Muhammad Ali was an American professional boxer and activist. Nicknamed “the Greatest”, he is regarded as one of the most significant sports figures of the 20th century and is often regarded as the greatest heavyweight boxer of all time. He held the Ring magazine heavyweight title from 1964 to 1970.

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

Simone Biles-Simone Arianne Biles Owens is an American artistic gymnast. The most decorated American gymnast in history, she is widely considered one of the greatest gymnasts of all time. Her seven Olympic gymnastics medals are ninth-most of all time and tied with Shannon Miller for the most by a U.S. gymnast.

Joe Frazier- Joseph William Frazier, nicknamed “Smokin’ Joe”, was an American professional boxer who competed from 1965 to 1981.

Althea Gibson- Althea Neale Gibson was an American tennis player and professional golfer, and one of the first Black athletes to cross the color line of international tennis. In 1956, she became the first African American to win a Grand Slam event.

Reggie Jackson- Reginald Martinez Jackson is an American former professional baseball right fielder who played 21 seasons in Major League Baseball for the Kansas City / Oakland Athletics, Baltimore Orioles, New York Yankees, and California Angels. Jackson was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.

Derek Jeter- Derek Sanderson Jeter is an American former professional baseball shortstop, businessman, and baseball executive. As a player, Jeter spent his entire 20-year Major League Baseball career with the New York Yankees.

Michael Jordan-Michael Jeffrey Jordan, also known by his initials MJ, is an American businessman and former professional basketball player. He played fifteen seasons in the National Basketball Association between 1984 and 2003, winning six NBA championships with the Chicago Bulls.

Florence Griffith Joyner- Florence Delorez Griffith Joyner, also known as Flo-Jo, was an American track and field athlete and the fastest woman ever recorded. She set world records in 1988 for the 100 m and 200 m. During the late 1980s, she became a popular figure due to both her record-setting athleticism and eclectic personal style.

Sugar Ray Leonard-Ray Charles Leonard, best known as “Sugar” Ray Leonard, is an American former professional boxer, motivational speaker, and occasional actor.

Willie Mays-Willie Howard Mays Jr., nicknamed “the Say Hey Kid”, is an American former center fielder in Major League Baseball. Regarded as one of the greatest players ever, Mays ranks second behind only Babe Ruth on most all-time lists, including those of The Sporting News and ESPN.  Mays played in the National League (NL) between 1951 and 1973 for the New York/ San Francisco Giants and New York Mets.

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

Fritz Pollard-Frederick Douglass “Fritz” Pollard was an American football player and coach. In 1921, he became the first African-American head coach in the National Football League. Pollard and Bobby Marshall were the first two African-American players in the NFL in 1920.

Jackie Robinson-Jack Roosevelt Robinson was an American professional baseball player who became the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the modern era. Robinson broke the color line when he started at first base for the Brooklyn Dodgers on April 15, 1947.

Serena Williams-Serena Jameka Williams is an American former professional tennis player. Widely regarded as one of the greatest tennis players of all time, she was ranked number one in the world in singles by the Women’s tennis Association (WTA) for 319 weeks, including a joint-record 186 consecutive weeks, and finished as the year-end No. 1 five times. She won 23 Grand Slam women’s singles titles, the most in the Open Era and the second most of all times. She is the only player to accomplish a Golden Slam in both singles and doubles.

Pamela Stern