Pop Gates

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Pop Gates
Personal information
Born (1917-08-30)August 30, 1917
Decatur, Alabama
Died December 1, 1999(1999-12-01) (aged 82)
New York City, New York
Nationality American
Listed height 6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight 200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High school Benjamin Franklin
(Harlem, New York)
Position Guard
Career history
As player:
1937–1938 New York Harlem Yankees
New York Rens
1941–1946 Washington Licthman Bears
1941–1944 Grumman Flyers
1944–1945 Rochester
1944–1946 Long Island Grumman Hellcats
1945–1946 Chicago Monarchs
1946–1947 Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1947–1949 New York Rens
1949 Dayton Rens
1949–1950 Scranton Miners
1950–1957 Harlem Globetrotters
1951–1952 New York Celtics
As coach:
1949 Dayton Rens
1950–1955 Harlem Globetrotters
Career highlights and awards
  • NBL All-Time Team
  • 3× All-WPBT Team (1940, 1942, 1943)
  • ABL champion (1950)
  • Harlem Globetrotters "Legends" Ring (1995)
Basketball Hall of Fame as player

William Penn "Pop" Gates (August 30, 1917 – December 1, 1999) was an American professional basketball player.

Early life

He was born in Decatur, Alabama and attended high school in New York, New York. After attending Clark Atlanta University (although he did not play for the school), he began his basketball career in New York City.

Basketball career

He started his professional basketball career with the Harlem Renaissance, beginning in 1938–39. "Seven months before Jackie Robinson made his debut for the Brooklyn Dodgers, Leo Ferris helped usher in a new era of racial integration for professional basketball when he signed William "Pop" Gates, who made his debut for the Blackhawks in October 1946. Gates, along with William "Dolly" King, were the first two African-American players in the NBL. "When Leo Ferris came to me, it was like a godsend," Gates was quoted as saying in the book, "Pioneers of the Hardwood: Indiana and the Birth of Professional Basketball." "It was a real highlight of my career to be accepted by the NBL as one of only two blacks in the league."[1] He became one of the early black players in the NBL in 1946. Later he played for and coached the Harlem Globetrotters. Gates is one of the few athletes who went directly from a high school championship team (Benjamin Franklin, New York, 1938) to a World Professional Champion (Rens, 1939).

Awards and honors

Gates was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a player in 1989.


  1. ^ "Long-forgotten Leo Ferris helped devise NBA's 24-second clock, first used 61 years ago today". ESPN.com. Retrieved 2016-03-14.

External links

  • "William Henry "Bill" Gates III" at the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
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