If you were previously unaware of basketball pioneer Don Barksdale, prior to his enshrinement later this week in the Basketball Hall of Fame, you're not to be blamed. Barksdale played his last NBA game 57 years ago, just missing out on being part of the Boston Celtics team that began to dominate the NBA following the 1956 draft.
He's a rightful inductee, though. Barksdale was the first African-American to work as a member of Team USA's Men's Basketball outfit in the 1948 Olympics, the first African-American to become a consensus All-American selection (while at UCLA), and a member of the 1953 NBA All-Star team. Barksdale averaged 11 points and eight rebounds spread out over 28 minutes per game in a truncated NBA career that was cut short by injury.
TVniks will be interested to note that the character D'Angelo Barksdale from 'The Wire' was named after the Hall of Famer, a tribute to the fully-named Donald Angelo Barksdale's status as the first African-American player on the Baltimore Bullets.