Pop Gates

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Pop Gates
Personal information
Born(1917-08-30)August 30, 1917
Decatur, Alabama
DiedDecember 1, 1999(1999-12-01) (aged 82)
New York City
Listed height6 ft 2 in (1.88 m)
Listed weight200 lb (91 kg)
Career information
High schoolBenjamin Franklin
(Harlem, New York)
Career history
As player:
1937–1938New York Harlem Yankees
New York Rens
1941–1946Washington Licthman Bears
1941–1944Grumman Flyers
1944–1946Long Island Grumman Hellcats
1945–1946Chicago Monarchs
1946–1947Tri-Cities Blackhawks
1947–1949New York Rens
1949Dayton Rens
1949–1950Scranton Miners
1950–1957Harlem Globetrotters
1951–1952New York Celtics
As coach:
1949Dayton Rens
1950–1955Harlem 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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]

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[edit]