SPRINGFIELD, Mass. --- Legendary basketball coach John McLendon will officially take his place in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at tonight’s enshrinement ceremony at 5:30 p.m. (CT) in Springfield, Mass. The Ceremony will air live on NBA TV and will be streamed through NBA.com.
The late McLendon guided the Tennessee State men’s basketball team to NAIA National Championships in 1957, 1958 and 1959. He had previously been inducted into the Hall of Fame as a contributor to the game in 1979 but will enter as a coach on Friday.
During his tenure in Nashville from 1954-59, McLendon posted a 144-20 record while utilizing the talent of future NBA players Dick Barnett, Ben Warley, Porter Meriwether, Joe Buckhalter and John Barnhill, among others. His .878 winning percentage at TSU is the best in program history.
During his career, McLendon coached on the collegiate level at North Carolina Central, Hampton, TSU, Kentucky State and Cleveland State. In professional basketball, he was the first African American to coach the pro game with the Cleveland Pipers of the American Basketball League in 1961, and he also coached the Denver Rockets of the American Basketball Association.
McLendon learned under the inventor of basketball, Dr. James Naismith, when McLendon was a student at the University of Kansas. The court where the Tennessee State men's and women's basketball teams play in the Gentry Center was dedicated as "McLendon Court" during the 1991-92 season.
McLendon was elected into the Tennessee State Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983, the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in 2007 and the Cleveland State Hall of Fame in 2007.
The 10-member Hall of Fame Class of 2016 includes John McLendon (Coach), Zelmo Beaty (Player), Darrell Garretson (Referee), Allen Iverson (Player), Tom Izzo (Coach), Yao Ming (Player), Shaquille O'Neal (Player), Cumberland Posey (Player), Jerry Reinsdorf (Owner) and Sheryl Swoopes (Player).