John McLendon, who is known for the first black coach in any professional sport, was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame for the second time two weeks ago. Also joining him were Allen Iverson, Shaquille O’Neal, Yao Ming and Tom Izzo.
The first time McLendon was inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame, he was inducted as a “contributor.” This time he was inducted for his coaching merits. McLendon was a three-time winner of the NAIA Coach of the Year award and won three consecutive NAIA championships at Tennessee State, making him the first college basketball coach ever to have won three consecutive national titles.
He also coached in the ABL (American Basketball League) and the ABA (American Basketball Association).
McLendon, who died in 1999, hadn’t coached since 1969. The panelist ask was his induction as a coach long overdue? Is it disrespectful to black college sports that it took so long for him to get in.
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