Nashville, Tenn. - The Tennessee state House of Representatives honored 11 former Tennessee State Tiger basketball players Friday afternoon inside (6/5) the House Chambers at the Tennessee State Capitol.
House Resolution No. 96 in the state Legislature, written by Rep. Brenda Gilmore, honors the 11 Tigers who went on to play for the world famous Harlem Globetrotters.
Among those players were the late Josh Grider, Clarence Wilson, Bobby Hunter, Mel Davis and Henry Kean. One of the most unique 'Trotters was TSU alumnus Boyd Buie, who had one arm. Others honored were Joe Buckhalter, Tommy Gibson, Willis Thomas, Ben Jackson and Ernest Jones.
In attendance were the widows of Josh Grider and Ben Jackson, Peggy Grider and Dr. Ada Jackson. Along side family members were Grider's son, Randy Grider and Jackson's son-in-law Whitescreek High School head coach Ricky Collins.
Dr. John Kline, an ex-Harlem Globetrotter and president of the Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation spoke on behalf of the players. He went on to note the tough times during the early 1950s for African-American basketball players to play professionally. Also, adding that the Harlem Globetrotters gave them a chance to show their talents world-wide.
Also in attendance was newly hired TSU men's basketball coach John Cooper. Cooper spoke briefly about the tradition of TSU basketball while acknowledging the road the former players paved.
"It's an honor to be part of a rich history here at TSU," said Cooper. "Observing the presentation gives you a strong sense of pride and I applaud these men for what they did for the sport of basketball."
Pictured Above (names not listed in picture order): Joe Buckhalter, Boid Buie, Mel “Trick” Davis, Thomas Gibson, Joshua Grider, Carl Helem, Bobby “Zorro” Hunter, Benjamin Jackson, Ernest Jones, Henry A. Kean, Jr., Vernon McNeal, Sammy Moore, Willis Thomas and Clarence “Cave” Wilson.