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Saturday, 27 September 2014

BLACK SOCIAL HISTORY : AFRICAN AMERICAN " NATHANIEL CLIFTON " WAS A MULTI SPORT ATHETE BEST KNOWN AS ONE OF THE FIRST AFRICAN AMERICAN TO PLAY THE NATIONAL BASKET BALL ASSOCIATION (NBA) : GOES INTO THE " HALL OF BLACK HEROES"

 BLACK         SOCIAL        HISTORY                                                                                                                                           Nathaniel Clifton


Nathaniel Clifton
Nathaniel Clifton.jpg
No. 19, 8, 24
Center / Forward
Personal information
BornOctober 13, 1922
Little Rock, Arkansas
DiedAugust 31, 1990 (aged 67)
ChicagoIllinois
NationalityAmerican
Listed height6 ft 8 in (2.03 m)
Listed weight225 lb (102 kg)
Career information
High schoolDuSable (Chicago, Illinois)
CollegeXavier (Louisiana) (1942–1943)
Pro career1945–1961
Career history
1945‒1947New York Rens
1947‒1950Harlem Globetrotters
1950‒1956New York Knicks
1956‒1957Detroit Pistons
1961Chicago Majors
Career highlights and awards
Career NBA statistics
Points5,444
Rebounds4,469
Assists1,369
 at Basketball-Reference.com
Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton (October 13, 1922 – August 31, 1990) was an American multi-sport athlete best known as one of the first African Americans to play in the National Basketball Association 

Early life

Born in Little Rock, Arkansas, according to the Social Security Administration death records, he was born Clifton Nathaniel. Clifton claimed to have been given the "Sweetwater" nickname as a boy because of his love of soft drinks. His family moved toChicagoIllinois, where he became an outstanding basketball and baseball player at DuSable High School, graduating in 1942. He attended Xavier University of Louisiana and then served with the United States Army for three years, fighting in Europe during World War II.

Early pro sports career

After the war, Sweet water Clifton joined the New York Rens, an all-black professional basketball team that toured throughout the United States. Noted for his large hands, which required a size 14 glove, he was invited to join the Harlem Globetrotters, for whom he played from the summer of 1948 to the spring of 1950. Still a talented baseball first baseman, during the basketball off-season in 1949 Clifton played for the Chicago American Giants in Negro League baseball. By 1950, his performance with the Globetrotters, in particular his exceptional ball-handling ability, led to his signing a contract with an NBA team.

NBA career

On May 24, 1950, Clifton became the second African-American player to sign an NBA contract.[a] He played his first game for the New York Knicks four days after the debut of Washington Capitols's Earl Lloyd, the first black player to appear in an NBA game.[6] Already 27 years old when he made his debut, Clifton in his first season helped lead the team to its first-ever appearance in the NBA finals, losing in game seven. During his eight seasons in the NBA, Clifton averaged 10 points and 9 rebounds per game. He was named to the 1957 NBA All-Star team, scoring 8 points in 23 minutes in the game. At age 34, he became the oldest player in NBA history to be named an All-Star.
In 1957, Clifton was part of a multi-player trade between the Knicks and the Detroit Pistons, but after one season in Detroit he retired from basketball. In the summer of 1958, he joined the Detroit Clowns baseball team in the Negro Leagues, along with his former Harlem Globetrotters teammate Reece "Goose" Tatum.
In 1961, he was coaxed out of retirement by the Chicago Majors of the fledgling American Basketball League (ABL). After the league folded at the end of 1962, the 40-year-old Clifton retired permanently.

Honors and charitable work

Clifton's contributions to his community during his sporting career and after his playing days have been recognized by the Associated Black Charities of New York City. They have honored him by naming one of the Black History Maker Awards the Nathaniel 'Sweetwater' Clifton Award. In 2005, the New York Knicks basketball team renamed their monthly "City Spirit Award" in his honor. The Sweetwater Clifton City Spirit Award is given to a member of the community who goes above and beyond his or her normal duties to make the lives of others in the tri-state area better.
Clifton, who played softball for the Brown Bombers and Capitol Records team of the "Daddy O" Daylie League, was also inducted into Chicago 16 Inch Softball Hall of Fame.[7]
On his death in 1990, Sweet water Clifton was interred in the Restvale Cemetery in the Chicago suburb of Alsip.
On February 14, 2014, Clifton was announced as a 2014 inductee by the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He will formally enter the Hall as a contributor on August 8.[8]