FRANK HART AND ELGIN BAYLOR: WHEN DC BASKETBALL WAS KING!

FRANK HART THE TEAM
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Two Peas in a Pod: Frank and his best friend Walter Miller–class acts.

In the early 50s I use to sit on “The Hill” watch and admire athletes I wanted to be like once I got to high school. ‘The Hill’ was known as Educational Hill. It was one the most unique school settings in America. I remember while attending Brown Middle School, I would take the street car from my NE housing project every week-day morning to attend school. “The Hill” was located on the corridor of 24th and Benning Road in NE Washington, DC.

What made “The Hill” so unique was the walk from the bus stop to my Brown Middle School which was the last school on that 24th street corridor. We took “The Hill” for granted. To get to Brown we had to first walk by the historical Langston Golf Course on our right, the newly open Spingarn High School was on the left. We then had to walk through a bunch of smiling and loud talking faceless teenagers without names hanging out on the side walk of the school. The next schools on the horizon were Charles Young Elementary, and hidden behind Charles Young was Phelps Vocational High School and at the end of the street was Brown Middle School and the Principal from hell,I thought, William B. Stinson.
He told my mother after her third visit, “Harold will not live to get out of high school.” He saved my life, because he made me determined to prove him wrong.

The athletes attending Spingarn and Phelps were my first heroes. I would sit on “The Hill” after school and watch them practice and play football and baseball, and dream I would do the same one day.

Basketball was the glamour sport (girls) and that is where you would find brothers like Elgin Baylor aka “Rabbit”, Frank Hart, Ed Wells, Doug Robinson, Earl Richards, Terry Hatchett, Ben Dixon, and John Syphax, but to me they were only whispers among the students I sat with on “The Hill.” High school basketball games were under lock and key as far as I was concern. The corridor was patroled by one cop Ray Dixon, and he could smell a wanna-be like me a mile away. The only opportunity I got to see Elgin, Ed Wells, Terry Hatchell, Gary Mays, Frank Hart and others was during the summer on the playgrounds around the city. I would travel during the summer to the Boys Club, Bannecker and Park View to watch Elgin, Frank, Willie Jones, Daddy Grace and enforcers like Swingarn and Lester Lewis.

“Education Hill” was patroled by one cop–officer Ray Dixon. It seemed like he knew every student on the corridor and what school we attended. When me and my crew tried to weasel our way into the Spingarn gym during games he would sniff us out immediately. You did not want to get on the wrong side of Dixon and so we kept our distant.

This brings me back to Frank Hart who went home to be with the Lord on April 16, 2018. He was a native Washingtonian and a high school and playground Basketball legend here in the Nation’s Capitol. He attended Bannecker Middle School where his legend first took root. Ed Wells, another high school, college and playground basketball legend remembers playing against him when he was a student at Brown Middle School. He said, “Frank and his teammates put on a basketball clinic and sent us back to Benning Road with our tails between our legs.” Frank played on those great Armstrong teams (1951-1952) with the likes of Captain Ed Wells, Arthur Kay, Big Dub Robinson, Art Van Brackle, Gary Mays, Andrew Dyer, Walter Jones, Bernard Braddock and Ben Dixon. They were led by their great coach, Charlie Baltimore who was “The Wizard of Oz” of high school basketball in DC. I am a big fan of legendary DeMatha High School basketball Coach Morgan Wooten. He was a great coach and a gentleman in every sense of the word, but he was no Charlie Baltimore or Dave Brown.

The best high school basketball in DC was played in the early 50s in so-called Division Two. This division was established to separate black schools from the segregated white schools in Division One. Playground and high school basketball was played above the rim in the black community. In the white community players were still shooting two hand set-shots and the fast-break was still being run at a snail’s pace. In Division Two, jump shots, hang time and show time were the norm. Armstrong “ruled the roost” before Rabbit they won 11 Division Championships in row.

Coach Baltimore had his eyes on Frank while he was making a name for himself at Bannecker. Frank was destined for high school and college stardom and all the coaches in Division Two wanted his services. He decided to go to Dunbar with “The nice kids” according to Ed, but Coach Baltimore pulled off one of the great heist in high school basketball when he literally kidnapped Frank from his neighboring school and rival without a shot being fired or a call to 911. Before anyone knew it Frank had disappeared out of a side door into the front door of Armstrong High School. It is rumored that Coach Baltimore assigned Big Dub Robinson and several football players as security guards to keep an eye on Frank for the first month of the kidnapping. Why Frank changed his mind and chose Armstrong over Dunbar is still up for debate.

There was an interesting trait that Ed Wells remembered about Frank. He says, “Frank was a hell of a foul shooter!” Coach Baltimore had a drill after every practice where each player had to make 50 foul shots in a row before heading to the showers. Frank could make 50 foul shots in a row with his eyes closed,” Ed said.

Ben Dixon, the Captain of the 1952-1953 team said, “Frank was a great high school teammate. His energy warranted him his place of distinction in our high school and playground basketball history. Hopefully, he will be rewarded generously for all of the good that he did. We can’t ask for anything more.”

Frank was a member of the 1951-52 team that won 20 games and lost 5, and the 1952-1953 Division Two Championship team that won 17 and lost 3. The team featured Dixon, Gary Mays, Walter Jones, Ed Gilliard, Ted Boderick, George Dill, Carl Jackson, William Burton, Leon Glover, Charles Allen, Leon Glover and Welford Rice.

Elgin was attending Spingarn in 1953 when he went on a mission and set a new high school scoring record with 63 points against Phelps. Armstrong split two games with Phelps, but lost to Dunbar and Phelps backed into and won their only Division Two championship under the great Dave Brown. The next two years Armstong took up where they left off winning the next two Division Two Championships. The 1953 team included Captain Ben Dixon, Gary Mays, Walter Jones, William Burton, Ted Boderick, Carl Jackson, Welford Rice, Charles Allen, Leon Glover, and Frank Hart.

In 1954 Armstrong again found themselves in the Division Two finals against Spingarn and its star player Elgin Baylor. Coach Charlie Baltimore knew they would be in big trouble if he did not come up with a way to stop the Rabbit. In their last meeting he scorched them for 39 points. Coach Baltimore went into his hat of tricks and it was not a rabbit he pulled out, it was a bandit name Gary Mays. Despite having only one arm Gary was considered by many to be the best all around athlete in the city. Coach Baltimore’s instructions to Gary was to play Elgin man to man the entire game (box in one). The other Armstrong players would play a zone defense. In one of the biggest upsets in DC high school basketball history Armstrong prevailed–the final score, Spingarn 54 and Armstrong 53. The One Arm Bandit had done what many thought impossible, held the Rabbit to 18 points.

Elgin would later play in the two of the most important All-Sar Games in the city’s basketball history. The first, was played at Terrell Jr. High School on March 12, 1954. The oponents were the all white Division One group All-Stars. They were led by their “Great White Hope” a high school scoring machine, Jim Wexler. Wexler held the DC Public High School scoring record, 52 points until Elgin shot the lights out against Phelps.

In the match up with the all white all-stars it was no-contest. Elgin scored 44 points and Wexler scored 34 points. Wexler would later say, “Baylor introduced me to a basketball world I never knew.” In Baylor’s book “Hang Time” it sounds like he and Wexler were the only players on the court for that historical showdown. I was not there, but we know for sure there were at least 4 more players who played in that game, including Frank Hart.

Elgin would pick up where he left off with the Stonewalls when he dropped out of school in 1952. The Stonewalls would meet a group of all white college all-stars in the finals of a tournament at Turner’s Arena. The all-stars included University of Maryland star Gene Shue. The Stonewalls beat the college all stars by 22 points. Shue had 34 points and Elgin had 38 points. He called Shue, “The Real deal” but again in his book “Hang Time” he again sounds like he and Shue were the only players on the court, but again we know there were other players on the Stonewalls, including, Frank Hart. “Hang Time” was a great read with the exception of Rabbit’s short term memory when it came to his coach and his teammates that played with him.

Elgin is the most decorated and dominant basketball player to ever come out of DC. He ruled all that he surveyed despite the snub by the white media as it related to space allowed for the exploits of the black athlete. Basketball was still a T-E-A-M game and Armstrong took no prisoners as Elgin played musical chairs between Phelps and Spingarn High Schools during his tenure. Two years at Phelps and one at Spingarn, Elgin’s hang time was limited in the won-lost column. Ed Wells, Ben Dixon, Frank Hart and their Armstrong teammates played a major role in that one blemish on his fabulous high school career.

The only local news story on the exploits of Rabbit’s high school oddessey was found in the Washington Star Newspaper dated March 25, 1954:

LOSS TO BAYLOR IN TOURNAMENT NO COST TO GENE SHUE’S PRESTIGE! The Evening Star March 25, 1954

Gene Shue of Maryland joins the College All-Stars on Sunday to begin the tour against the Harlem Globe Trotters and there is a good chance he may run into a familiar face before the circuit is completed.
Shue, rated the top basketball player in the area in recent years met up with Elgin Baylor last night, in the final game of the Capitol Invitation Tournament at Turner’s Arena. The Maryland ace lost no prestige as his College Park Merchants’ team dropped the championship to the Stonewall A C 90-68 it can’t be said that Baylor got the worst of the duel either. The scoring Wizard from Spingarn high outscored Shue 38 points to 34, while facing probably his toughest opposition of the year. While Baylor has little to say on the matter, the suspicion is that the next team he will play for will be the Harlem Globetrotters, unless the Army steps in.
The tournament proved what the Globetrotters and others already knew Baylor attracts the crowds. The three day tournament among mostly pick-up teams attracted around 3,000 fans and was a moderate success, according to Dave Carraso. Carrasco who is the Director of athletics and basketball coach at Montgomery Blain High School, gives Baylor 90 percent of the credit. Shue has a great following to, but it was Baylor who had the drawing power, he admits.

As for comparing their abilities, Carrasco may lean toward the college boy, “for steady basketball there is no one like Shue, he has more finesse and won’t make the same mistakes that Baylor will,” he says. But Baylor has the makings of a terrific player in fact he is terrific now. I’d never seen him before this tournament. He was off the first night (29 points) but on the next night he made some unbelievable shots.” Baylor got 47 points.
The Merchants were only behind 47-43 at half-time of the final game before the team work of the Stonewall outfit began to take affect. Ernie Warlick helped Baylor in the scoring while matching Shue’s 34 points, Drew Shauffler was the only other Merchant player in double figures, he chipped in with 10 points. Baylor’s coach at Spingarn, Dave Brown concedes Baylor maybe headed for the Globetrotters, but he has strongly urged him against it. “For one the U. S. Army will get him before the Trotters do” Elgin has received offers from about 10 colleges including a very good one from Seton Hall. I am trying to look at the overall picture, but it is his life, Coach Brown says.

Elgin Baylor (Spingarn), Gary Mays (Armstrong)and Warren ‘W.W.’ Williams (Dunbar) would continue their basketball odessey by packing their shopping bags and head out to parts unknown, Idaho. All they had to go on was a first-hand visit by W.W. a year earlier. Idaho was located in the northwestern part of the U. S. known for its mountains and wilderness. The closest thing to a moutain and wilderness these three players ever experience was Rock Creek Park and walking from 13th & U Streets up the steep hill to Cardozo High School.

The academic mystery of Elgin and Gary traveling out to Idaho was neither had grades to go to the bathroom. This made W. W. the lone scholar among the three.

Frank decided to take his chances by joining the U. S. Army after graduating from high school. Shortly after basic training he was spotted on base playing pick-up basketball and one of the players told the Base Commander about a “Hot Shot” player from DC. The Commander checked him out and made him an offer he could not refuse. The offer, to play “Special Services” in the Hawaii Islands. He would shoot the lights out in his new assignment and became the leading scorer and star player during his tour.

He returned home to play for the Stonewalls in the late 50s and then he moved on to team up with Donald Lipscome (realestate), Harold Dean, Rabbit Gaskins, Roosevelt James(?), Jay Peterson (DC COP), Kermit Banks (DC Public Schools), and Gil Hoffman. These guys all made up the 1964 Kerlips a dominant recreation team who were unbeatable led by Frank Hart. These players went on to have distinguishing careers in real Estate (Lipscome), DC Public High School & college coach (Dean), Educator DC Public Schools (Banks), DC Public Schools Athletic Director and Ass’t Superintendent (Hoffman).

Black Americans are given little or no credit while they live and no credit at all when we die. The Washington Post is the best example, Roland Fatty Taylor a young street dude from NE DC against all odds made it all the way from Watts and Kelley Miller playgrounds to the ABA and on to the NBA where he became “Captain” of the Denver Nuggets. He played alongside, Julius Irving aka Dr. J and George Gervin aka the Ice Man (the nick name given to him by Fatty). Gary Mays was aka the One Arm Bandit, he lost his arm as youngster growing up in West Virginia to a accidental blast from a shotgun. Despite his one arm he was given a try-out as a catcher at a Major League Baseball camp in his hometown of Washington, DC.

It was the early 50s and the camp was held at old Griffin Stadium on the Georgia Avenue corridor. Gary was the only player to hit a home-run out of the stadium, and he didn’t allow a stolen base. Despite being named MVP of the tryout camp Major League Baseball played the Race Card and never offered him a contract. Fatty and Gary died in February and Frank died in April of 2018. The common denominator, their living and dying received little or no fanfare in the Washington Post or the Afro-American Newspaper.

National correspondents like James Brown (CBS), Kevin Blackistone (Washington Post), Michael Wilbon (ESPN), Colby King (Washington Post/Dunbar grad) all have ties to DC, but have no clue about the community or sports history. David Aldridge (NBA TNT) has a clue, but he cannot cover it all. In 2007 ABC News recognized Gary Mays in a 2 minute blur in a Black History Month forum produced by Inside Sports.

Black History is being oppressed and given little or no recognition. The proof is in the pudding for example; Washington, DC is the only public high school system in America that can lay claim to having two DC Public High Schools with four athletes in the NFL and the NBA Hall of Fames. They are Len Ford and Willie Wood of Armstrong High School (NFL) and Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing of Spingarn High School (NBA). The common denominator, both institutions of higher learning are now shut-down–lost history. It gets worst, the founder of the DC Hall of Fame is a capetbagger by the name of Janette Holston Harris and guess where she is from–Kentucky. She is allowed to make up her own rules for inductees; for example, “If you are a native Washingtonian and you now live in Maryland, you are not eligible for the DC Hall of Fame.” Are you kidding me–history lost. To get around that stipulation with folks who act and look like her, there is a ‘Regional Award’ she gives out to other frauds and capetbaggers like radio and TV personalities, Donnie Simpson and Joe Madison, Simpson is from Detroit and Madison is from Dayton, Ohio. Their knowledge of the DC community you could put on the head of a needle.

We all should be asking the question, why is it that our DC Public High School Coaches like, Charlie Baltimore, Ted McIntyre, Dave Brown, Jesse Chase, Biff Carter, Sal Hall and athletes, Avatus Stone, J. A. Preston, Ralph “Daddy Grace” Paige, Cecil Turner, Reggie Lee, Frank Hart, Rock Green, Peasie Jordan, John Syphax, Ben Dixon, Ed Wells, Shorty Sumlin, Red Mike Hagler, Doug Robinson, Ollie Johnson, Dave Bing, are not in the Washington DC Hall of Fame? These coaches and athletes laid the foundation for our academic and athletic success.

The most important thing that I remember about Frank and his side kick, Walter Miller, the word “Player Hater” can never be associated with their names. They always had a kind word of encouragement for a young brother like me and they had each other’s backs. I looked up to them. RIP Frank Hart.

The Memorial Service for Frank Hart will be held on Monday May 14th at 11 a.m, St Gabriel’s Church, 26 Grant Circle NW, Washington, DC.

ELGIN BAYLOR NEVER HUNG IN DC!

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Elgin Baylor known to family and friends as Rabbit on the playgrounds of DC
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High school Coach Dave Brown, the man most responsible for Rabbit’s NBA career. DC Mayor Walter Washington and I pay tribute to Coach Brown’s retirement.

In April 2018 Former Spingarn High School and NBA Hall of Fame player Elgin Baylor blew into his hometown of Washington, DC. The ocassion, he was selling his new book titled “Hang Time.” What a great tile, in a town he left hanging his entire NBA career except for a visit back home for the funeral of a family member. During those visits he would use the back roads and under the cover of darkness to find his way into a place he once called home.

Elgin without a doubt is the greatest basketball player to ever come out of DC (I am a eyewitness). I watched Elgin when I was just a student at Brown Middle School in NE DC. My middle school was in walking distance of Phelps and Spingarn high schools. This was where his legendary status first took root. He followed coach Dave Brown from Phelps to next door neighbor and rival Spingarn. And as they say, “The rest is basketball history!”

His basketball legendary status was born on the playgrounds and in a segregated DC Public School system in Washington, DC.

NBA great Dr. J described Elgin’s prowness on a basketball court to that of a ballerina as it related to his movements. Rabbit was the first to use hang-time as a part of his basketball offensive arsenal leaving opponents flatfooted in his wake. Dr. J and Michael Jordan were all students of his hang-time classes taught from their home television sets.

When I was contacted by Frank Jones, Jr. and told that Elgin would be at the new Afro-American Museum I was skeptical about his appearance. His travels back home were rare, far, few and in between. I was then told that his appearance was based on his new book titled “Hang Time!” Frank Jones the nephew of the late basketball legend Wil Jones advised me I could get free tickets to hear a one on one interview with Elgin conducted by former Wizard’s player Phil Chenier–I immediately said, “Thanks, but no thanks.” Phil Chenier knows absolutely nothing about DC basketball or Elgin Baylor! The last time I got free tickets to see Elgin Baylor, the free tickets were given to me by Elgin Baylor in Greensboro, NC in 1959.

The ocassion, the Lakers were on an exhibition tour in the south and their next stop was Greensboro, NC. The city was located 30 miles north of Winston-Salem. There were several Spingarn student/athletes attending Winston-Salem Teachers College and I was one of them. When I heard the Lakers would be playing in Greensboro I told my roommate Donald ‘Duck’ Wills and suggested we go and try to catch up with him and get some tickets for the game.

Donald and I grew up together in the same NE housing project and we were the quarterback/wide receiver combination at Spingarn High School. His brother Maury ‘Sonny’ Wills was a star athlete at Cardozo High School and against all odds went on to become a record breaking and legendary base stealer for the LA Dodgers’ Major League Baseball team. He spend 10 years in the minor leagues before he was called up to the Dodgers. We were all connected to Rabbit. Donald like his brother was a great all-around athlete. I followed in their footsteps and was a three sports star in football, basketball and baseball. I even worn Rabbit’s No. 23 Spingarn jersey. My athletic skills never matched theirs.

In the meantime, Donald begged off of traveling to Greenesboro to see Rabbit claiming he had a hot date and for me to say hello to him. I was not deterred, I borrowed my teammate/roommate Arnold McKnight’s car and hit the road. During the drive to see my homeboy I was kind of apprehensive about how he would receive me. He was always very quiet and some what introverted.

The common denominator was our alma mater Spingarn, Coach Dave Brown, and the Wills brothers. Elgin and I had become ‘friends’ after he married his first wife Ruby and they moved to an apartment complex in NE DC called The Mayfair Mansions. The complex was located directly across the street from my housing project, Parkside. Elgin like most pro athletes black and white during that era had second jobs once the season was over. Today’s salaries were unheard of. His second job was working for the DC Recreation Department at Bannecker Playground in NW DC. The playground was located directly across the street from Howard University on Georgia Avenue.

In the evenings I would wait at the corner of Hayes Street and Kenilworth Avenue leading out of our community. This was the route he would take to his job. I would hitch a ride with him to 24th & Benning Road (Langston Golf Course)where he would drop me off to walk to the Brown Middle School’s basketball court. Some days (mostly weekends) we would play at Henry T. Blow elementary school playground located at 19th & Benning Road (directly across the street from John Thompson’s residence)and that would be my drop off point. I remember one evening I was running late and there he was parked waiting for me. He said, “Don’t make this a habit” and I kind of smiled to myself.

Lets return to Greensboro and my encounter with Rabbit. I was able to locate the motel rather easily where the Lakers were staying. I had my coach Clarence ‘Bighouse’ Gaines call Cal Irving the basketball coach at North Carolina A & T to get the name of the motel, but before giving me the information, he asked me for the second time, “Do you really know Elgin?” I looked at him and said, “Where is Elgin from, what school did he attend and what coach did he play for?” He then surrendered the piece of paper he had written the information on.

Once I arrived in Greensboro I knocked on the door and Rabbit opened the door and said, “Man what are you doing way down here?” I told him Duck and I were attending Winston-Salem on an athletic scholarship. He asked where was Duck? And I said ‘he had a conflict and was chasing some nursing student around the campus.’ He laughed and we talked hometown and basketball for about 20 minutes. I then made my exit back to Winston-Salem. He gave me 4 tickets to the game, a Laker jacket and twenty-dollars with instructions to give Duck ten. The tickets I gave away to some white youth hanging around the motel trying to get autographs. The jacket I held on to for several years before losing it and Duck never asked me for the ten dollars.

After college I would follow Rabbit on television and travel to watch the Bullets play the Lakers in Baltimore at the Civil Center. The Gus Johnson and Elgin Baylor one on one battles were always the best knockdown and dragout battles in the NBA. They were like gladiators on a basketball court. Rabbit (Elgin) and Honeycomb (Gus) were worth the price of a ticket and they left you checking the schedule for their next encounter. This was “Real Men’s basketball.” There was no crying or signifying to the referees on every play. Sometimes the referees would just let them play until there was a sign of blood.

Too many think “Show Time NBA” originated in LA, but the real ‘Show Time’ originated in Baltimore with arrival of Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe from Winston-Salem State in North Carolina in 1968. Show Time started with a rebound and an outlet pass from Wes Unseld to Earl with Elvin Hayes running on one flank and Honeycomb running on the other. It was breath taking and had the crowd standing on their feet wondering who would be the last to touch the ball. It was here Earl earned his nick name “Black Magic.” It was double the drama when it was Lakers versus Bullets–to include the duel between Rabbit and Honeycomb.

I notice after Rabbit turned pro he became “The Invisible Man” around his hometown. His friends and former teammates would attend NBA games in Baltimore by car and busloads hoping to get an audience with him, but he hardly said, “Hello” and he avoided them whenever possible. The stories of the sightings and non-sightings of Rabbit are many, and sometimes it is hard to know who to believe. To be perfectly honest there is very little difference between him, and DC homegrown *Dave Bing, John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, James Brown, Adrian Dantley, Adrian Branch, Tony Paige, and Tim Baylor. Its a photo finish when it comes to being invisible and selfish human beings in their hometown. The sad part of their selfish behavior, they all act like they were born rich instead of poor—I could write a book.

Let me tell you about one of the stories that I know “First Hand” up close and personal. The stories that have been written about Rabbit and his greatness never mention the man most responsible for his success as an athlete and as a man in this GAME CALLED LIFE. His name was Coach Dave Brown!

Former writer and columnist Dave McKenna has probably written more about DC playground legends than anyone else in sports media with the exception of yours truly. I remember a column he had written titled, “Wilt vs. Elgin: When Their World Was the Playground–Two legends in the summer of 57” dated August 28, 2012.

It was the best caption of DC playground basketball I have ever read, but there were so many outlandish lies told about who was there and how Wilt got there were comical. Dave Harris was the most reliable source. It was not McKenna’s fault, he just didn’t know. It was a historical moment in DC basketball history and everyone wanted to be a part of it, including some of those who claim they were there and were nowhere in the zip code.

I love me some Morgan Wooten, but Morgan was no Dave Brown, he just had more resources and press coverage. The other Division Two black coaches include, Sal Hall, Jessie Chase, Biff Carter, Ted McIntye, Charton Steward, and Charlie Baltimore. They were just never given their just due for developing some of the greatest athletes to come out of this town. The DC Public school system is the only public school system in America that can claim four professional athletes in the hall of fame. Armstrong High School produced NFL players, Len Ford and Willie Wood. Spingarn High School produced, NBA players, Elgin Baylor and Dave Bing. Other great athletes had names like, Avatus Stone, J. A. Preston, Rock Green, Reggie Lee, Hosie lee, Frank Lee, Terry Hatchett, Roger ‘Shoes’ Scott, Mo Joe Icely, Melvin ‘Weasel’ Jackson, Willie Johnson, James ‘Chicken Breast’ Lee, and Bernard Levi. Kiyi Battle, Jaky Mathews, Walter Brooks, Nick Turner, Jabbo Turner, Bill Butler, Bootsie Harris, James Dudley, Everet ‘Cookie’ Payne, all of these men were playground and Boys Club mentors. They were also important role models to young brothers like me who had no father figure.

ELGIN BAYLOR:
The greatest, I have to give him some slack when it comes to returning home and not giving something back. He was truly shy and an introvert, what you saw was what you got. One rumor, concerns Elgin’s former teammate at Phelps Maxwell Banks. He adopted the Hollywood name of Max Julien and went on to become a movie star with films portraying the life of a pimp and other street hustlers. Max played opposite the legendary comedian Richard Pryor in “The Mack” the film was released 1973. It was seen as a blaxploitation drama/crime movie. Rumor has it Max fell on hard times and went to Elgin’s home without an invitation. He rung the door bell and Elgin answered in his bathrobe and Max asked him for a loan until he could get back on his feet. Without a word Elgin shut the door and returned with a hundred dollar bill and told Max to never come back to his house again.

In 1989 my mentor the legendary NBA broadcaster and playground basketball legend Sonny Hill and I attended the NBA All-Star Game in Houston, Texas. Remember, I had not seen Elgin up close and personal since 1959 in Greensboro, NC. He retired from the NBA in 1971 one year after I took to the airwaves with Inside Sports. We had communicated when I was coordinating and hosting a retirement tribute to our high school coach Dave Brown in 1978. I called him at his LA Clipper office and to my surprise he took my call. I explained I was coordinating a tribute to Coach Brown and if his busy schedule allowed I would like for him to attend. He begged off saying he had a conflict in his schedule, but said he would send a telegram to congradulate him and asked me for Coach Brown’s home number. He did send the telegram and I read it during the tribute, but he never called his savior.

During the NBA All-Star Game Sonny and I shared a hotel room. Sonny had left me down in the media room trying to convince NBA Press Relations Director Brian McIntyre I was a legit member of the media. This was after he told he had not received a credential request from Inside Sports. I had to call Red Auerbach’s home and have his wife Dotie confirm who I was. Mr. McIntyre and I later became great friends. As I was taking the elevator to my room, guess who came to dinner, Elgin Baylor. There standing before me as I stepped on the elevator was Elgin and a pretty little lady standing next him. We rode together for at least 8 floors with folks getting on and off. He never open his mouth. On his depature he looked back and said, “Nice seeing you again Harold!” I was amazed, I was too lost for words to respond. When I got to the room I told Sonny about my encounter with Elgin and he just said, “Thats Elgin.”

Frank Jones is the brother of the late great Willie Jones, he and his family attended the book signing. Frank was a decent basketball player in his own right and knew Rabbit well, but when he had a face to face encounter with him years later during his NBA career, he claimed he didn’t know Frank. During the book signing Frank was having his book signed by Elgin and according to rumor, someone yelled “thats Willie Jones’ brother.” Rabbit looked up and back down without a word of acknowledgement. This was one of those times I wished Willie was still alive and was in the same room with Rabbit. He would have clothed Rabbit back into his right mind. Willie had no cut-card for cuties on duty, unless it was himself!

Dave Bing a Spingarn grad and a NBA Hall of Fame player thought he was all that, but Rabbit gave him a wake up call also. He asked Rabbit to be his presenter in his induction into the basketball hall of fame, Rabbit claimed a conflict in his schedule. That was Rabbit being Rabbit!

STAY TUNE:FOR OTHER HOW I FORGOT STORIES!
Dave Bing
Tim Baylor
James Brown
Len Bias
Adrian Branch
Adrian Dantley
Sugar Ray Leonard
Tony Paige
John Thompson, Jr.
Maury Wills

WHAT MAKES THE WASHINGTON POST ANY DIFFERENT FROM THE WATERGATE CROOKS?

INSIDE SPORTS TRAIL BLAZER
The Washington Star cites Inside Sports as the trail blazer in sports talk in DC.
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The Washington Post: NBA legend Red Auerbach and I co-host Inside Sports. Katharine Graham left a trail that Stevie Wonder could follow.

The author Alex Belth of “THE SUNDAY LONG READ” provides inside information and describes in word and a photo show of the Usual Suspects. It turns out Katharine Graham and Richard Nixon had a lot in common, he botched Watergate and she botched the kidnapping of “INSIDE SPORTS!”

I had already launch my INSIDE SPORTS radio talk show in 1970 on W-O-O-K AM nine years before Katarine Graham launch INSIDE SPORTS the magazine. The Washington Post and ESPN discovered INSIDE SPORTS much like Christopher Columbus discovered America in 1492, native Americans were already occupying the land?

When the Washington Post discovered INSIDE SPORTS MAGAZINE, writers, columnist and their sports editor George Solomon were frequent guest on INSIDE SPORTS my radio talk show. I was also a freelance writer for the paper (sports & commentary sections and a frequent guest on the Washington Post sports talk show seen on then old Comcast cable television channel).
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My commentary on preachers and politicians who are definitely not making children first.

I met Donald Graham when he was a rookie foot patroman for the DC Police Department in the late 60s. I was working as a Roving Leader for the DC Department of Recreation & Parks (youth gang task force). He told me his mother was not a happy camper with his new job. She told him, “You are just wasting a good Harvard education.” I got the impression he was being just a little rebellious. He was not long for his foot patrolman’s duties on the mean streets of DC. He would join his mother in time to oversee the paper’s most famous period, the Watergate coverage that helped bring down President Richard Nixon. The Dirty Tricks’ team was made up of former FBI and CIA agents. They broke into the offices of the Democratic Party and George McGovern who was the presidential candidate. By coincident in 1970 I was accepting a Presidential appointment from my old frienof Richard Nixon almost the same time Donald was joining his mother at the Washington Post.

My next encounter with Donald would be in a Washington Post newsroom in 1974 after Watergate. I had just left a meeting with my friend Washington Post columnist and later Pulitzer Prize winner, Bill Raspberry. Bill was walking me to the elevator when we met Donald walking toward us and Bill introduced us, but Donald said, “I know Harold Bell” and the look on Bill’s face was priceless. Donald said, ‘Harold what are you doing these days?’ My response, ‘I have my own radio sports talk show and I am still working in the streets with kids.’ He then rushed off saying, ‘The next time you are down this way give me a call.’
Remember, this is the same Washington Post newspaper that gave us the movie “All The Presidents Men” starring Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman. These two legendary actors played the roles of two Wasshington Post reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Berstein who investigated a botched burlary attempt at the Wategate Hotel that took down the Presidency of Richard Nixon.

The Washington Post also gave us the recent movie “The Post” a story based on the first female publisher of a major newspaper. The story is based on the life and times of Ms. Graham. She races to compete with the New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that expands three decades and four U.S. Presidenrs. She overcomes major obstacles as she risk her career–and very freedom–to help bring long-buried truths to light. Sounds like the pot calling the kettle calling black! I hope Donald Graham does not mind if I bring this truth to light.

What makes this charade so petty and unprofessional is the fact the Grahams were millionaires over and all Donald or George Solomon (sports editor) had to do was call me and say “Harold we know you don’t have a copy right on “Inside Sports” but we would like to buy the title from you–what you think?” And I would have said “Make me a offer”, but since they have been taking and not paying for the past 400 years—they decided to take again. I wonder if I should ask for reparations? See letter from Donald Graham, he send me chump change after they had stolen “Inside Sports” and convinced my sponsors the Mary Lottery and Coc-Cola to renege on written contracts to cancel my talk show. I asked him for a loan to save my home, but instead he mailed me a check with enough for me to move out and put furniture in storage. In the letter he ask for anonimity!

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I understand its all about control and keeping some of us in our place, for example; when black readers of the Washington Post got angry about a lack of people of color gracing the pages of its new magazine, every Monday protesters would leave hundreds magazines at the paper’s main entrance.

The protest was organized by Congressman Walter Fauntroy (D-DC), and several local ministers. Cathy Hughes later jumped on the “Band Wagon!” After three months of protest, the Grahams were on the ropes and didn’t know what to do to quell the protest. But Cathy Hughes solved all of their problem when she made a sneak attack in a side door in the dark of night and made a deal with the Grahams to end the protest. Congressman Fauntroy and the ministers were left in a state of shock–they had no idea about how and why the protest was called off. Cathy Hughes was just being Cathy Hughes–the back stabber she has always been since I have known her. The deal cut with the Grahams was all about her and nobody else in the community. The Grahams made a deal to appear on her radio station WOL once a month for community updates and make sure she had enough sponsors to substain the station. See story below that appeared in the 1986 November issue of the Washington Post on how and why the protest came to an end, read with caution. There is a snake in the grass and she bites.
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Urban Radio & TV One’s Alfred Liggins and Cathy Hughes: The Devil wears Prada?

The Washington Post story read, “Cathy Hughes, the leader of a three-month protest over the coverage of blacks in The Washington Post’s Sunday magazine and the daily newspaper, announced yesterday that the protest has ended and that Post Publisher Donald E. Graham and Executive Editor Benjamin C. Bradlee will appear on her radio talk show to discuss news coverage. For 13 consecutive Sundays, the Washington Post Magazine Recall Committee, a coalition of community groups, held demonstrations during which it dumped magazines on the front steps of the newspaper’s downtown building to protest the depiction of blacks in the premiere issue of The Post’s Sunday magazine. That Sept. 7 issue featured a cover story about a black New York rap singer accused of murder and a column sympathizing with Washington merchants who turn away young black men whom they view as robbers and shoplifters. The protest, however, soon expanded to include longstanding objections to what some called negative coverage of blacks in the news pages. The recall committee had voted not to hold any formal talks with Post executives until the newspaper “signaled” that it would seriously consider a demand for balanced coverage of blacks by suspending publication of the magazine. Yesterday, Hughes, the owner of WOL-AM radio, began her three-hour, call-in morning talk show by announcing that the protest would end and that she and Graham had “reached a resolution” of the controversy.

Cathy Hughes reads a news release, issued by The Post, it said Graham would appear on Hughes’ talk show next Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday from 7:30 to 10 a.m. On Tuesday and Wednesday, Bradlee and other Post representatives would join Graham. Although Hughes called the agreement a victory, members of the recall committee had mixed reactions. While most characterized the agreement as “a step in the right direction,” others were skeptical about whether there would be any substantial changes in the newspaper’s coverage of blacks.

The Rev. William Reverly, pastor of Mount Gilead Baptist Church who organized church participation in the protest, said he was shocked to learn of the agreement yesterday morning. “It doesn’t seem like much to me,” said Reverly. “We could have gotten that much several weeks ago.” In the statement released by The Post, Graham said his appearance on the radio show would be to state the paper’s position. “My purpose is to listen, and to affirm that the Washington Post policies include balanced, consistent coverage of the black community, not ignoring any problems, but placing appropriate emphasis on the achievers, the successful, the positive aspects of the community,” Graham said. He declined to comment on how the agreement was reached.

Hughes said Graham made the offer to appear on the radio talk show and she accepted it Thursday after consulting with recall committee members. “The publisher of The Washington Post is giving not his word to an individual or a committee, but to a community,” she said. When asked why the committee dropped the request for a suspension of the magazine, Hughes said the committee’s goal always had been “balanced and objective journalism” and that since the protest began the committee had noticed improvements in Post stories about blacks. Although she refused to provide any details, Hughes said a monitoring system of sorts will be put in place to evaluate the coverage of blacks and that the type of system will be announced when Graham appears on the show next week. Bradlee said no monitoring system is called for in the agreement. “The root causes of the difficulty will need a lot of care and attention,” Bradlee said. “If the goal was to raise the sensitivity of The Post, I think she [Hughes] did that.” (as you can read they can’t even get their lies straight).

In 2008 the Washington Post also published a two-part series on how Cathy Hughes was shortchanging her shareholders and paying her and her son outrageous salaries. Investors grilled the company’s officers during a shareholders meeting questioning the propriety of a new compensation package for chief executive Alfred C. Liggins III and founder Cathy Hughes.

Given the precipitous decline of the value of Radio One stock over the past year, several shareholders asked whether now was the time to give hefty pay increases to Liggins and Hughes, his mother.

Under his new contract, Liggins will receive $1 million for having been underpaid the past three years. He will also get a 70 percent raise that will bring his annual salary to $980,000, plus the possibility of a bonus in that amount. Hughes will receive a 75 percent salary increase, bringing her pay to $750,000 a year.

“This looks kind of flaky; it looks off the wall,” said shareholder Paul Woods. “I can’t see the justification for bonuses at this point in time.”

The Washington Post was not the only one to have a “Deep Throat”, the late Tony Washington was the Marketing & Sales Director for W-O-L and a long time friend gave me the 411 on the whole charade. I wanted to tell Donald that I knew they were behind the kidnapping of INSIDE SPORTS, but I didn’t have his family’s fingerprints on the low blow and sabortage until now.

The trail also leads back to him as it relates to me losing my sponsors for my talk show. I remember I was losing my home when I asked him help me out. He send me check for $1,500 enough for me to move and put my furniture in storage.

Several year later I let Donald know that I knew Cathy Hughes had sold the black community out with an offer from him and his mother she could and would not refuse. He was in denial and said “There was no deal made.” It was in the 90s when he reached back and found another “Usual Suspect.” He made a $50,000 donation to Cora Masters Barry a convicted felon. She was the DC Boxing Commissioner. In the 80s she ripped off the commission for thousands of dollars in fraudulent travel expenses. She is currently multi-tasking ripping off the DC government and the SE Tennis & Learning Center with donations approved by Mayor Muriel Bowser and donations from the tennis sisters, Serena and Venus Williams. She is controling the monies earmarked for the tennis center by using a non-profit organization called the Recreation Wish List, which is a sham. Former World Heavyweight Champion Riddick Bowe is now homeless and broke because he took the advice of another “Usual Suspect” Rock Newman. Newman was Bowes’ manager and he made Cora the Director of Bowes’ non-profit Reach Back Community program. The program was established to enhance the development of local youth. The only people that were enhanced were the bank accounts of Rock Newman and Cora Masters Barry. Cathy and Cora have a lot in common they both have never seen a dollar they would not steal or a pipe they would not smoke. I thought Donald Graham was a better man and a better judge of character, but they say “Birds of a feather flock together.

The cast of characters that the Grahams chose from the mothership of the Washington Post as the first INSIDE SPORTS MAGAZINE staffers doomed the magazine from the beginning. For example, John Walsh (Style section), Tom Shales (Style section), Tom Boswell (Sports) and Tony Korhiser (Sports)–all losers.

I am on record saying, “Tony Kornheisner should be glad that he was born Jewish/White and not Harold Bell. This guy has no talent, his ace in the hole was kissing Donald Graham’s butt”. He help make Michael Wilbon one of the biggest liars in sports media. Michael’s colleague and friend John Feinstein said, “Michael Wilbon is the biggest ass kisser in sports media”, that does not sound like a friend to me.
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Rev. James Brown (CBS/NFL studio host) is another story, but I will save for now, he has told me more lies than Wilbon–this was almost a photo finish.
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NBA legend Sam Jones, James Brown CBS/NFL, HBell and NBA pioneer Earl Lloyd

When it came to sports in the black community from high school sports (Donald Huff was the exception), Redskins, to the Bullets, and Boxing, I was the go to brother. Solomon reminded his writers and columnist to listen to INSIDE SPORTS for the latest (according to writers Byron Rosen & Tom Callahan). The sports pages of the Washington Post followed my lead in the Afro-American Newspaper for example; when Surgar Ray Leonard’s best man Joe Brody was scare that his friend might overdose from cocaine and congac liquor and to add to the confusion he was using his wife Quanita as a punching bag, he called me. I tried to chase Ray down for three weeks, but he was always a step ahead of me. I then decided the only way to get his attention was on Inside Sports. I broke the story and the Washington Post followed my lead.

It was the same when I broke “The Two Faces of John Thompson” story. Someone once called the Georgetown basketball coach a “Scared Cow,” He is one of the biggest fraud in sports. By the way the Washington Post followed my lead again. My story on Big John was published by the Bleacher Report in 3 days the blog had received 55,000 hits. The Afro-American published the same story on January 16, 1999 and the Washington Post published their story February 18, 1999 titled “Georgetown: Casinos Executives, Thompson Aligned”. This was Part 1, it took their investigated reporter, Bill Brubaker one month to verify that everything I said in my story was true. Part 2 was never published, I am betting Brubaker got more information than he bargin for and someone at the paper or Georgetown said, “No Mas” and called the whole investigation off.
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Sugar Ray Leonard, HBell, Joe Brody (best man) and Mike Stewart ham it up in the studio of W-O-O-K radio. Danny Lewis looks up from the floor.
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So it is safe to say the Washington Post knew who Harold Bell was and his popular No.1 talk show, INSIDE SPORTS.

THE WASHINGTON POST ASSASSINS
The story goes something like this, John Walsh was working in the Style section as an editor of the paper. He decided to pick the brain of sports editor George Solomon as it related to the success of Inside Sports. George and his writers and columnist were frequent guest on my show, and Walsh wanted to know what drove the show’s success and could it be transferred in print to a sports magazine. George said, “Yes.”

Walsh carried his idea and plan to owners Katharine and Donald Graham who agreed bankroll the project. Their next move would be to copy right the titled “INSIDE SPORTS” now owned by Newsweek the magazine owned by the Washington Post.

They mis-evaluated their plot to steal “Inside Sports.” They thought the popularity of the magazine would somehow match the popularity of Inside Sports my radio talk show. The cross-over appeal and popularity of the show on AM radio would transfer to Inside Sports Magazine–it never happen.

Below see the losers and clowns who participated in this charade–it sounded like a “Good Old Boy’s Club and the comedy routine of Albert and Costello’s Who’s On First.”

Jill Nelson a former columnist for the paper, once described the Washington Post as “The Plantation on the Potomac. The make-up of the magazine’s all white staff supports her description of the newspaper.

The blog by Alex Belth the editor of Esquire Classic as well as the proprietor of The Stacks, a site dedicated to preserving great journalism. His blog makes you understand why many see the Washington Post as one of today’s FAKE NEWS leaders in media.

Read carefully the bios of these guys, they sound like a bunch of drug abusers and alcoholics who needed to fit a psychiatrist into their daily routine. They also sound like a bunch of priviledge white men who were use to taking what they wanted.

I am sometimes lost for words when someone points out the progress of black Americans and why we are still using “The Race Card?” Evidently, they didn’t read the Washington Post February 2018, the story was related to “The Economic Policy Institute Report Card. It read 50 years after the assassination of Rev. Martin Luther King and the 1968 Kerner Report there has been zero progress in Black America.” Success in America is measured by the dollar bill. How can Black men ever experience success when a white man’s salary will always double his?

The report also said, “The wealth gap between white and black Americans has more than tripled in the past 50 years, according to Federal Reserve data. The typical black family had zero wealth in 1968. Today the median net worth of white families–$171,000–ten times that of black families. The lack of economic progress is especially startling given that black educational attainment of both high school diplomas and college degrees has improved sigificantly in the past five decades.

Despite all the man all the man made obstacles placed in my path by men like Donald Graham and despite all the nay-sayers and player haters in my community who talk about me, but never talk to me–I have made a difference.

When a young black man from a NE housing project in DC hears his middle school principal tell his mother he won’t live to get out of high school it open his eyes. The truth of the matter I was trying to go to hell in a hurry. In retrospect I realized I did live to get out of high school. I also lived to break bread and become friends with the President of the United States, Richard Nixon, have lunch with Red and Dotie Auerbach in their home, and sit on the mountain top with Muhammad Ali, and I have been married to the same lady for 50 years–all the glory goes to God. The bottom-line, everything and everybody else is a distant second. In the big picture I went where there was no trail and I left a path for others to follow, to include the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL and pro athletes everywhere. Despite the uphill battle of racism in front of me, I still believe, “That every black face I see is not my brother and every white I see is not my enemy. It is often said, “The proof is in the Pudding.”

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In 1975 I became the first Black Ameican to produce and host his own sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate NBC WRC-TV 4.

Part One:
https://theoriginalinsidesports.blog/2015/07/05/to-catch-a-thief-john-walsh-and-espn-the-kidnapping-of-inside-sports-by-american-media/
Part 2
https://www.sundaylongread.com/inside-sports-oral-history / THE SUNDAY LONG READ
HBell Profile
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hAZVZjGeYpY/ HB profile

NOTEWORTHY: HAROLD BELL–KIDS IN TROUBLE–INSIDE SPORTS ARE DRUG FREE ZONES

I REMEMBER WHEN THE NBA WAS WILD ABOUT HARRY AND THE NBA CHAMPION BULLETS!

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Dancing Harry aka Marvin Cooper had all the dance moves to fire up Earl Monroe and the Baltimore Bullets in the late 60s and 70s. He placed a spell on the opposing team while The Pearl worked his black magic on the court.
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The late Washington Bullets/Wizards’ owner Abe Polin and Wes Unsel share a hug during the teams first and only NBA Championship in 1978.

On the weekend of March 23, 2018 the Washington Wizards will celebrate their 40th anniversary of their 1978 NBA World Championship team and retire Phil Chenier’s number. I will remember the 50th anniversary of “Dancing Harry!”

You won’t find Marvin Cooper’s name on the NBA or ABA’s All-Pro team or in its hall of fames, he was a player for the leagues back in the day. Or, perhaps, playa would probably be the best way describe him, but according to Mark Montieth (Pacers.com) he came along before that particular bit of vernacular entered the lexicon. Let’s just say you won’t find the name of “Dancing Harry” as a participant for the NBA Baltimore Bullets, New York Knicks or the Indiana Pacers of the ABA in the archives of the two leagues.

His NBA career started in the Baltimore Civic Center in 1968 with an assist from Earl ‘The Pearl’ Monroe. Harry was a “Pioneer and Trail Blazer” in pro basketball when it comes to mascots as entertainment in the NBA–he was first.

Back in the ’70s, Dancing Harry would earn national notoriety and a couple hundred bucks by putting on a funky hat and a cape, or even just wear his street clothes, and come out of the stands to put a hex on the visiting team. Dancing Harry did exactly that during timeouts, he would stand near the opposing team’s huddle, turn sideways, spread his legs, jerk himself into a crouch, hold up his arms, point his fingers at the enemy players and shake his hands. He called it putting a “whammy” on them.

The Bullets , New York Knicks and Pacer’s fans went crazy, and the players enjoyed it. Dancing Harry first caught the eye of basketball fans in his hometown of Baltimore, Maryland in the late 1960s. The Bullets were a promising team at the time, led by future hall of fame guard aka God, Earl “The Pearl” Monroe and a supporting cast of future NBA Hall of Fame players, Elvin Hayes, Gus Johnson and Wes Unsel—it had the potential of being a dynasty aka Boston Celtics.
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Earl and I wish our coach and mentor, Clarence Bighouse Gaines a happy birthday.

The team was occasionally seen on the NBA’s weekly telecast. Harry was a traveling salesman for Park Sausage, working up and down the East coast, and he supplemented his income as a singer in area nightclubs. He and Earl The Pearl Monroe a former NBA No. 1 pick out of HBCU Winston-Salem State became friends after he successfully hustled The Pearl in a Baltimore pool hall one day. Earl turned the hustle back into his favor, instead of paying Harry off in cash he gave him tickets for a Bullets home game. They struck up a friendship and Harry attended more games. The seats were close to the court, so he got into the spirit of the occasion and stood up to dance to the music during timeouts, some of the players noticed. Over time, one of them – he can’t remember which one – encouraged him to do something more than dance.

Harry graduated to putting hexes on referees during timeouts. He’d sneak up behind a referee and do his thing. The fans would laugh. The referee would turn around. Harry would play innocent and the fans would laugh some more. Eventually, he moved on to putting hexes on opposing players, and became a fixture at the games and a friend to several of the Bullets.

One day he was in New York with the team the morning after it had played the Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Bullets forward and future NBA Hall of Fame player, the great Gus Johnson told him he had just read an article in one of the New York newspapers that referred to him as “Dancing Harry”, it stuck.

In the meantime, Earl Monroe was named “Rookie of the Year” and revoluntionize guard play in the NBA with his dribbling and ball handling skills. His “now you see me and now you don’t magic with a basketball was the talk of the league and beyond. He was headed into the last year of his contract and he never forgot how he was tricked into signing his first contract his rookie year. He later described it to me as peanuts. He decided he wanted to cash in his chips in Baltimore and head to the Big Apple.

The Bullets were aware that he wanted his next team to be the Knicks. He got his wish early into the 1971-72 season. The trade send the Bullets into a decline. Earl was the catalyst of a roster of great and future hall of fame players that included, Wes Unsel, Gus Johnson, and Elvin Haynes. The rivary between the Bullets, the Celtics and the New York Knicks was NBA basketball at its best in the 70s.

By the way–the Bullets lead by The Pearl was “Show Time” long before Magic Johnson and the L. A. Lakers. An outlet pass from Wes to Earl started a fastbreak never seen before in the NBA. Elvin would be on one flank, Gus on the other and Earl in the middle. The end result would cause nightmares to opponents. The play would end with a behind the back pass from Earl to Gus or something similar. Gus would slam dunk the ball so violently the opposing players would be running to get out of the way. Earl’s trick bag was so deep he would have the fans screaming from the top of their lungs. It was must see basketball.

Dancing Harry also shifted his allegiance to New York, because of Earl and the salary cap the Bullets had put on paying him for his services–was zero. He asked for permission to continue his act in New York. The Knicks management said no, but the Knick players would later say yes.

“One night they were losing to Boston by 20 points and Willis Reed asked me why I wasn’t dancing,” Harry says. ‘I told him and he said, ‘The hell with management, we’re losing.’ I jumped down and got on the floor and the place went crazy and the Knicks came back and won that game. They didn’t bother me anymore.”

Earl and backcourt running mate Walt Frazier would take the Knicks to the finals in 1973 and they would win it all in 1974. The Bullets would not reach the finals until 1976 with K. C. Jones, but they would run into a red hot Golden State Warrior team losing in 4 straight games. K. C. would be fired the next year and Dick Motto was hired and the Bullets would win it all in 1978.

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NBA Hall of famer and Bullets’ super-star Elvin Haynes host Nike after party at the Hilton Hotel in downtown DC. Nike NBA promotion rep John Phillips and I look on as Elvin gives the welcome speech. Elvin visits Nike store in Georgetown to get his just rewards.

Thanks to the great Red Auerbach all was well that ends well. Red hired K. C. and he became the only black non-player head coach to win multiple NBA Championships.
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Bullets head coach K. C. Jones and assistant Bernie Bickerstaff pay tribute to local high school basketball on Inside Sports. Red, K. C. and I have lunch at Ed Murphy’s Supper Club on Georgia Avenue, NW in Washington, DC.

Harry continued performing as the Knicks reached the NBA finals in 1972, and became a fixture the following season on their way to an NBA championship. Walt Frazier took him to buy some clothes so he would look the part. He even got a few endorsements. It was a few hundred dollars here and a few hundred dollars there, but it was all adding up. So was his fame, nationally, because of all the air time on television.

He was a free agent, so he worked games for whatever team would have him (and pay him). It so happened that on April 16, 1975, he had just put down his bag upon arriving at his residence in Baltimore after working a game the previous night for the New York Nets when the phone rang. It was Sandy Knapp from the Pacers office, calling to ask him to fly to Indianapolis – that night – for a playoff game against the San Antonio Spurs at Market Square Arena. His mother drove him to the airport, where he picked up his ticket and he flew off to the next gig, for a $200 fee, plus room and board.

The Pacers had finished the regular season with a 45-39 record, they upset San Antonio in the first round, and upset Denver in the second round. Dancing Harry’s performances brought fans to their feet, brought energy to the games and might even have intimidated some opponents – or at least distracted them.

The trip turned into a unforgettable 6 game series, it is still one of the most dramatic and emotional Pacer championship runs in franchise history. The San Antonio Spurs had finished six games ahead of Indiana in the regular season, but the Pacers won the first three games of the first-round series, including the first two in San Antonio. They lost Games 4 and 5, however, by which time bad blood was boiling between the two teams. Play was becoming increasingly physical, fans were becoming increasingly vocal and vulgar and Pacers coach Bob “Slick” Leonard had taken to threatening referees and Spurs coach Bob Bass in the newspapers.

The Spurs had won Game 4 by one point in Indianapolis before a rowdy crowd at Market Square Arena. Before Game 5 in San Antonio, the Spurs public address announcer “vilified the Indiana fans” according to the Indianapolis News and implored the Spurs fans to behave in a more civilized manner. They didn’t, and neither did the players. Spurs forward Rich Jones retaliated to an elbow from Pacers guard Kevin Joyce with a right fist to Joyce’s chin, and was kicked out of the game. The Spurs went on to win, 123-117, pulling within 3-2 in the series.

The teams flew commercial then, so the Pacers stayed overnight to fly out the next morning. That evening, Leonard called the Indianapolis Star’s Bill Benner and demanded to have a piece of his mind published in the next morning’s newspaper. “If that’s the way they want to be, then they’ve really asked for it. If they want to bad-mouth our team, our franchise and our city, then we are really going to go after them Wednesday night,” Leonard said. “I’ll take the microphone myself if I have to incite our fans. I want our crowd fired up and angry.

That’s the environment into which Dancing Harry was dropped into for Game 6. The Pacers’ front office members were pulling out all the stops, throwing a kitchen sink’s worth of symbolism at the Spurs. They passed out four-leaf clovers and rabbit’s feet to fans for good luck. They hung a ladder from the MSA ceiling over the aisle-way leading from the Spurs locker room to the court – forcing them to capitulate to the bad-luck omen by walking under it. They went to the workplace of media members and deputized them, and gave cowboy hats to the front office and stat crew members to wear at the game.

The finishing touch was Dancing Harry. His act didn’t exactly fit into a Wild West theme, but whatever. He was famous from his appearances on national television and certain to excite the fans. And he did.

The Pacers won Game 6 and the series, 115-100. George McGinnis, who shared league MVP honors with Julius Erving that season, finished with 32 points, 23 rebounds and 14 assists. Rookie Billy Knight scored 33 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Future Hall of Famer George Gervin led the Spurs with 34 points. It was just a first-round series, but it meant enough to Leonard that he had ordered champagne to be waiting on ice in the postgame locker room. The Pacers celebrated as if they had just won a championship.
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“It was so invigorating,” Harry recalls. “When I came out (on the court), there was so much electricity in the air. Everybody was use to seeing me in New York. I had the fans in the palm of my hand. It was so annoying to San Antonio. George told me later, ‘Man, you brought the house down.'”

It was impossible to measure Dancing Harry’s impact, but who’s to say he didn’t help? The fans loved him, the players enjoyed the excitement and the Pacers had won. So, he was held over for the second-round series with Denver. Larry Brown had led his team to an ABA-best 65 wins that season, 20 more than the Pacers, and it had lost just two home games. The Pacers were going to need all the help they could get.

It was unclear from media accounts whether Dancing Harry was on hand for Game 1, but he was definitely there for Game 2. He had flown out on a private prop plane, separate from the players, with front office personnel. After losing the series opener, during which McGinnis bent a rim with a vicious slam-dunk, the Pacers won the second game, 131-124, to take homecourt advantage. Knight, left open for easy shots because Denver double-teamed McGinnis, scored 44 points on 18-of-22 shooting, and Billy Keller scored 21 in 23 minutes.

Harry’s fame was growing with each victory, and he was living up to it. He was taken to a clothing store at 38th and Illinois to acquire some more appropriate threads, which the Pacers paid for with a trade-out of tickets. He also got a theme song. Someone had suggested to Knapp the Leo Sayer song, “Long Tall Glasses (I Can Dance)” which had reached No. 9 on the U.S. charts in 1974, because it included lyrics about dancing. She agreed, and it caught on immediately with the fans.

“It was like Pavlov’s dog,” she said. “The crowd would practically salivate every time the song played. It became a conditioned response.”

For this round, the Pacers’ motto became “Hang ‘Em a Mile High,” Denver being the Mile High city and all. A mock funeral was held for the Nuggets before Game 3, and an effigy of one of the players, hanging from a noose, was lowered from the Market Square catwalk. The Pacemates packed toy pistols, wore white cowgirl hats and paraded wanted posters of some of the Nuggets players. Dancing Harry’s picture was on the cover of the game program. He wore a gold lame cape and gloves, a feathered cap trimmed with two rows of white fur, a gold turtleneck shirt and brown platform shoes.

The Pacers won, 118-112 to take a 2-1 lead. Late in the game, the victory assured, he grabbed the public address microphone and urged fans to buy tickets for Game 4. Afterward, he celebrated in the locker room with the players. He had become a virtual team member, a 32-year-old who had been around the NBA block a few times, with plenty of stories to tell shared them with the players.

“He was great,” Knight says. “Everybody loved him. He was a cool dude. He had fun with the whole thing. I didn’t think he took himself too seriously. He just enjoyed it and tried to entertain everybody.”

Even Leonard, an old-school veteran of the NBA, was caught up in the spirit.
“I think it’s great,” he told a Sports Illustrated reporter. “I know I’d hate to have Harry put his famous whammy on me.”

Harry and his whammy didn’t guarantee anything, of course, and too much celebration tends to bring bad karma. The Pacers were trounced in Game 4, 126-109, sending the series back to Denver. Harry went, too. He had, according to Knapp, a “phone fetish,” and could hardly pass one without calling someone. It so happened there was a telephone on the plane, so he called radio station WIBC and went live on the air. He also recorded a promo that was played throughout the playoffs. He called his mother, too, but she refused to believe anyone could make a phone call from an airplane, and told him he must have been drinking.

To Harry’s credit, he quickly spawned imitators. If a mascot could help a team win playoff games, the Nuggets weren’t going to pass up the opportunity. They trotted out Robota, “The Wicked Witch of the West,” to put a hex on the Pacers. Dressed in black, with long blonde hair, she stood nearby, seriously and silently, holding a broom, as they warmed up before the game. She also stuck pins in a life-sized cutout of McGinnis while standing next to a smoking cauldron at midcourt, and later stood silently behind the Pacers’ bench during the game.

It didn’t work. A sellout crowd of 7,483 in tiny Auditorium Arena watched the Pacers outscore the Nuggets 30-13 in the fourth quarter on their way to a 109-90 victory to go up 3-2. McGinnis scored six consecutive field goals in the period, two of them 3-pointers, and he and Knight combined for 55 points. By the end, the Denver fans were booing their team.

The Indianapolis fans, meanwhile, were wild about Harry. Before Game 6, a closeout game for the Pacers, both newspapers were in full Harry mode, featuring him in cartoons, photos and headlines. The Indianapolis News preview for the April 30 game carried the following awkward headline: Do Any Nuggets Care Even–
For One Last Whirl With the Pacers? The first letter of each word in the first line was bold-faced, spelling out “DANCE.”
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The story began:
“Dancing. There’ll be plenty of it tonight at Market Square Arena.
“It will begin with Dancing Harry. He’ll boogie to the rockin’, stompin’ beat of Leo Sayer’s “Long Tall Glasses” a pop-rock tune that has become the unofficial theme song of the Indiana Pacers.”

Lyrics from the song were interspersed throughout the story. But just as in Denver, the home team’s buildup backfired. The Pacers lost, 104-99, before a record crowd of 17,421 at MSA.

Leonard didn’t blame Harry, though. Taking note of the Nuggets’ 31 foul shot attempts and the Pacers’ 13, he declared the game to be “the stinkingest job of officiating I’ve ever seen.”

“All you ask for is a fair chance,” Leonard added. “Well, we sure as hell didn’t get it tonight. Every call went against us. We didn’t get a blow all night. Let’s let ’em call ’em the same way Saturday night in front of their fans and we’ll see what kind of guts they have.”

Lost in the hysteria was that McGinnis had turned in what’s likely the only quadruple-double in pro basketball history, although not a desired one: He had 26 points, 14 rebounds, 10 assists and 12 turnovers
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So it was back to Denver for the deciding Game 7. Harry went along once again, this time with a lucky stone given to him by Pacers’ president Tom Binford, who claimed it had belonged to the Apache Indian warrior, Cochise. When it was brought up to Harry that Cochise probably hadn’t been the luckiest of men, he responded, “Hey, Cochise never lost in Denver.”

The Pacers didn’t either, this time. Harry performed his whammies while the Denver fans booed and tossed coins. One even threw a whiskey bottle that landed at his feet. Harry’s impact on the Nuggets can’t be proven, but the play of some of the Pacers can. McGinnis finished with 40 points, 23 rebounds and eight assists, and Keller scored 23 points – 19 in the first half – as the Pacers held on for a 104-96 victory for the Western Division championship that set off another wild celebration. There was champagne in their locker room, champagne on their flight home and champagne (and other lubricants) at Leonard’s Carmel restaurant, where the party continued after the team’s arrival the next day, when hundreds of cheering fans greeted the team at the airport.

The season wasn’t over, but Leonard was calling it his most enjoyable with the Pacers because of the team’s “cohesion,” surpassing that of even his three ABA championship teams. They were moving on to the league finals against Kentucky, which had won 58 games during the regular season in the Eastern Division.

They were going to have to be patient, however. The Colonels’ arena, Freedom Hall, was booked and not available until May 13, meaning the Pacers would have a 10-day break between series. Kentucky would have an even longer wait, having been off since April 28. Two of the Colonels, Louie Dampier and Artis Gilmore, had driven to Indianapolis to watch and scout Game 6 against Denver, when the Pacers were trying to close out the series.

Harry stayed in Indianapolis during the break, but not at the Pacers’ expense. He had been put up in a hotel originally, but later met a woman who worked for AUL who offered him a place in her home. More than a room, actually. She became his girlfriend, although he was married and had an estranged wife back in Baltimore. He felt at home by now. He socialized with a few of the players, was a favored guest at parties hosted by the socially elite, was taken to the Speedway to meet the racers, and just generally reveled in Hoosier Hospitality.
“The whole city was open to me,” he recalls.

It was going to take more than a popular mascot to overcome the Colonels, though, who had clearly superior talent. Harry did his best, performing at home and road games alike. Leonard’s wife, Nancy, drove him to the games in Louisville in a borrowed RV, imagining what a police officer who saw them might think.

Just like Denver, Kentucky felt compelled to come up with its own mascot: Superfly. He was a 13-year-old boy, Michael J. Tolliver, who donned a white suit, hat, gloves, shoes and cape, carried a cane, and danced and tumbled to the delight of the fans. According to a Sports Illustrated article, he made Harry look “shabby” by comparison. The Pacers looked a little worn-out, too, as Kentucky won the series 4-1 for its first and only ABA title.

It would be McGinnis’ last game with the Pacers before he jumped to the NBA. It was the beginning of the end for Harry, too, at least in Indianapolis. He was brought back occasionally the following season, but without McGinnis the Pacers were a rebuilding team beyond the help of any mascot.

You won’t hear Marvin Cooper on the tips of many tongues of longtime Pacers fans, either. Harry conjured up an idea for an act and, all too briefly, made a name and a little money for himself before disappearing back into the fog of real world drudgery and difficulties.

Now he stands as a relic from a simpler time, when professional basketball was either more fun or more ridiculous than today, depending on your point of view.

NBA fans today are accustomed to non-stop professional-grade entertainment at games played at Capitol One arena in Washington, DC. On any game night you may find Young men jumping off trampolines, doing somersault and dunking basketballs between quarters. Halftimes bring everything from dogs tracking down and catching Frisbees to a woman riding a unicycle and flipping plates from her feet to the top of her head.

Dancing Harry would go on to take his act wherever it was welcome. McGinnis lined him up to work some games the following season for his new team in Philadelphia. He also worked that season for the New York Nets, the final one of the ABA’s nine-year history.

He became close friends with Julius Dr. J Erving, and was among those tossed into the shower when the Nets won their championship. He made an appearance for the Indiana Loves in the ill-fated World Team Tennis association at the Convention Center, too, annoying Ilie Nastase to the point Nastase chased after him with a tennis racket. He also accepted a few hundred dollars to perform for Dallas in a Monday Night Football game against Buffalo in November of 1976.

Dancing Harry’s star gradually faded, as the games became more serious and his act too familiar. Eventually, he was going to have to be Marvin Cooper again. It might have been for the best, anyway, because he was getting caught up in the fast-lane lifestyle of professional sports. He had quit his job with the sausage company before joining the Pacers to devote more time to being Harry, and to try to parlay his fame into a nightclub singing career. He was having fun, but he wasn’t getting anywhere.

“I thought it was going to last forever,” he says. “I was (written about) in Sports Illustrated three times, and in Time Magazine. I rode in limousines. I stayed in some of the best hotels. Got to meet a lot of people. I met so many people … the actors from (the television show) Good Times, Ed McMahon, Lou Rawls … John McEnroe loved me.”

Most likely, he’ll have to settle for appreciating his memories of a career that could never happen again.

The Wizards’ weekend celebration will bring members of the 1978 team from the North, South, West, East and parts unknown to honor teammates, front office staff and fans who remembered. I will remember WHUR Radio sports talk show host Ron Sutton. I am the last man standing in sports media from that era, but instead of looking back I am looking forward.
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Ron Sutton and I hold down the Washington Bullets’ press table at Capitol Centre in 1974.

This story brings me full cycle back to Dancing Harry’s 1968 debut in Baltimore and to the Bullets move from Baltimore in 1973 to Capital Centre in Landover and from Landover in 1997 to downtown Washington, DC. I remember when pro basketball was wild about Harry.

Thanks to Mark Monieth (Pacer.com) and the N. Y. Daily News

PROGRESS REPORT CARD IN BLACK AMERICA: WE HAVE FLUNKED OUT!

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This ain’t April and this blog is not “April Fool.”

According to The Eonomic Policy Institute. It said, 50 years after a major study on inequality, no gaines seen for Black America.” In 1968 the Kerner Commission convened to examine the causes of civil unrest in black communities. The Presidential Commission issued a report with a conclusion: America was moving toward two different societies, ‘One black, one white—separate and unequal.’

Fifty years after the historic Kerner Commission identified “White Racism” as the key cause of pervasive discrimination in employment, education, and housing “There has been no progress in how African-Americans in comparision to whites when it comes to homeownership, unemployment, and incarceration, according to a report released in the last week of February—Black History Month.

In some cases Afro-Americans are worse off today than they were before the civil rights movement culminated in laws barring housing and voter discrimination, as well as racial discrimination.

For example, 7.5 percent of African-Americans were unemployed in 2017, compared with 6.7 percent in 1968—still roughly twice the white unemployment rate.

The rate of home ownership has remained virtually unchanged. For African-Americans in the past 50 years. Black homeownership remains just over 40 percent, trailing 30 points behind the rate for whites, who have seen modest gains during that same time.

The share of incarcerated Afro-Americans nearly tripled between 1968 and 2016–one of the largest and most depressing developments in the past 50 years , especially black men, researchers found, African-Americans are 6.4 times more likely than whites to be jailed or imprisoned, compared with 5. 4 times as likely in 1968.
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How much more praying do we have to do?

We have not seen progress because we still have not addressed the issue of racial inequality in this country,” said John Schmitt, an economist and vice-president of the Economic Policy Institute.

The wealth gap between white and black Americans has more than tripled in the past 50 years. according to Federal Reserve data. The typical black family had zero wealth in 1968. Today the median net worth of white families –$171,000–10 times that of black families.

The lack of economic progress is especially startling given that black educational attainment of both high school diplomas and college degrees has improved sigbificantlyin the past five decades.

Unless we can find away to get rid of this black skin and blend in with white folks, our children are in a world of trouble. To clearly understand why, for the past 50 years we have sat on our hands styling , profiling and singing “We Shall Overcome Someday!”

Black America you have “Widen Home Plate” to understand what I am talking about read my recent blog and don’t blame the messenger. https://theoriginalinsidesports.blog/2018/02/01/america-dont-widen-the-plate

TWO GREAT TO BE IGNORED: ALI AND HAROLD BELL!

BY MIKE RAMEY

“Just because you ignore me; don’t mean that I’m not here.”

–James A. Green, Pastor
Indianapolis, Indiana

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TRAIL BLAZERS: “The road to success is not a path you find, but a trail you blaze”.

Washington DC ‘back in the day’ talk show host Ralph Waldo “Petey” Greene, Jr. would soon turn the nation’s capital into ‘P’ town with his on-air delivery, and off-air style. What is generally not known is that Harold Bell, in 1967, got his start in radio Sports Journalism on “Petey Greene’s Washington.” Oh, there were days of hammering out scripts on a manual typewriter, chasing down local sports teams and a variety of sports stars, and putting together a show that kept him, Petey and the DC market happy, humming and asking for more.

These days, Bell after close to five decades of making his debut (1970) on sports talk radio and changing the way we talk sports in America, he continues to write, interview and produce blogs titled: “The Original Inside Sports and Black Men in America.com”. He still makes the rounds of the DC market, whether it’s a Wizard’s game, or watching pee-wee football or talking with sports ‘newsmakers’, checking in with old friends, or keeping up his passion for helping Black youth to achieve their dreams behind the microphone and in the locker room. He still mentors a few young men by taking them out to learn the craft of Sports Journalism from the street and high school levels on up. He is the most decorated media personality in the country. Some of the sports media on air personalities who came through Inside Sports before their 15 minutes of fame include, Dave Bing (NBA),James Brown (CBS), Michael Wilbon (ESPN), Dave Aldridge (TNT), Sugar Ray Leonard (ESPN), John Thompson, Jr. (ESPN), Bill Rhoden (ESPN), Larry Fitzgerald, Sr. (ESPN), Grant Hill (ESPN) and Cathy Hughes (Radio & TV One) to name just a few.

Bell shows no signs of slowing down. His energy in the pursuit of truth on the court, on the field, or in the Game called life is well known. So well known, in fact that it drew the admiration of one well-known sports icon: Muhammad Ali. He met Ali on the campus of Howard University in 1967. Their unique relationship and conversations are now Legendary. Bell did the unthinkable more than 40 years ago in 1974…scooping ABC sports icon Howard Cosell, 60 Minutes’ Ed Bradley, and NBC’s Byrant Gumble. This was just days after Ali had become the heavyweight champion of the world again, in Zaire, Africa. The match was the iconic ‘Rumble in the Jungle’ against then-undefeated champion George Foreman. The Foreman/Ali match up had Ali as the underdog. History was made that night in Africa against all odds by Ali. The interview focused on an unfiltered view of Ali’s life, immediately after one of the more crucial boxing matches of his career. It was a no holds barred interview real life, with Ali as he was.

Bell left the entire sports media world scratching their heads again in 1975. He became the first black to host and produce his own television sports special in prime time on NBC affiliate WRC-TV 4. His special guest was “The Greatest.”
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There is a short “Teaser” of the interview on You Tube with an introduction by Emmy Award winning actor Robert Hooks, who is also a big fan of Bell’s and Ali. It’s a step back in time; to a time where reporting was made by heart, hustle, and ‘have mercy’. Bell makes the grade with this look at the champ. As Black History is being oppressed and told by others with hidden agendas, there is still hope that Bell’s piece of exclusive Black sports history will be seen by more eyes, and heard, by more ears. The late sports columnist Dick Heller of the Washington Times called Bell “The God Father” of sports talk, his sports media journey and one of a kind interview with Ali makes it difficult to call Heller a liar.

He has been called a lot of things by people who requested anonimity, but the one title given him that use to bother him, the word ‘Activist.’ He says, “I could not understand why using truth to power and being an advocate for children long before Columbine and Parkland made me a ‘Trouble Maker’? I am thankful, I have lived to see where being an Activist and Making Children First have become a part of the American landscape.” I have even called him ‘The Original Black Panther!’

To understand the mindset of Harold Bell, you would have to understand his heroes were not the black athletes he admired like Jack Johnson, Joe Louis, Paul Roberson, Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson, John Carlos, Tommie Smith and Muhammad Ali. His heroes could not run the 100 yard dash in 9 seconds, hit a baseball out of the park, throw a football 60 yards in the air or hit a jump shot. His heroes were black women, his mother, Mattie and his grandmother, Amy Tyler Bell.

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Bell says, “It does not get any better than to sit on the Mountain Top with Ali

Mike Ramey is a Minister, Reviewer and Syndicated Columnist who lives in Indianapolis, Indiana. He brings current and lesser-known titles to light to re-kindle a love for reading and thinking in a sea of modern technology. Feel free to reach him via email at manhoodline@yahoo.com. © 2018 Barnstorm Communications.

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Lift up Christ and lay the sinner low. –C. H. Spurgeon

FAKE NEWS REPORT: NBC APRIL UP RISING IN DC!

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Assistant Chief of Police Tilmon O’Bryant DC’s first “Community Cop of the City.”
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Mediating a truce on Harrison playground with boys in the hood in NW DC: Officer Charles Robinson of the 3rd District talk with me, Ricky Dargan and Kirby Burkes.
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A Police Community Relations success story was when Mayor Marion Barry came up with the idea of ‘Cops and Robbers’ on the same team to ‘Play Ball’ together. Harrison Playground coached by me won the city championship.

NBC WRC-TV 4 aired a Black History Month special on Sunday February 25, 2018. The program looked back on the 1968 riots in Washington, DC without an eye witness account. NBC WRC TV4 relied on he say, she say to tell our story and history. I was on the U Street corridor during the riots for 4 days. I was working as a Roving Leader (Youth Gang Task Force) for the Department of Parks & Recreation aka the DC Department of Recreation.

There were no present day reporters working for news outlets in 1968. The stations were, TV-4, TV-5, TV-7 and TV-9. The print media outlets like the Washington Post and the Evening Star had all white reporters and none dared to venture out into the inner-city for a eye-witness news report during the riots.

Max Robinson, Jim Vance, Fred Thomas, Paul Berry were all hired after the fact.

The eye-witnesses seen and heard on the NBC Special “April Up Rising” were all frauds especially, Saundra Butler Truesdale who was seen being interviewed in Ben’s Chili Bowl. She was nowhere to be found. The exception was Mayor Walter Washington. He spoke with me and my co-worker NFL Hall of Fame player Willie Wood at 7th T Streets, N. W.
iN 1967 Mayor Washington made a bold move when he hired Patrick Murphy the former Police Commissioner of the New York City Police Department to overseen the DC police and fire departments. Mr. Murphy was known as “The God Father of Police Community Relations. One of the first things he did on his arrival was to make arrangements to meet once a month with The Roving Leader Program (youth gang task force). When the riots hit DC we were prepared to hit the streets. Thanks to Mr. Murphy and Mayor Washington many lives were saved.
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Burtell Jefferson was the first black Chief of Police in DC and he followed Tilmon’s lead in reach back efforts in the community.
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Mayor Washington and ‘Boys in the Hood’ gather on Bannecker Playground on Georgia Ave. after the riots. The Mayor told us that FBI Director J Edgar Hoover wanted to shoot looters on sight. His response to him, “Not on my watch!” He earned our respect forever.
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Former U. S. Marshall and DC Superior Court Judge Luke C. Moore and Chief Judge Gene Hamilton.

Luke was the first modern day U. S. Marshall appointed by the President of the United States. He joined Willie and I to walk arm and arm down the U Street corridor. The first businesses owners we spotted were Ben’s Chili Bowl owner Ben Ali and John Snipes. They were standing in front of the bowl with several other residents. Snipes came over to talk with me and Willie and Luke went over to talk with Ben.

Luke returned to tell us that Ben had received a call telling him to close his business. Luke was not a happy camper, he could not understand the order because there would be nowhere for the cops and military personnel to eat if all the restaurants were closed. He left us promising to return,

in the meantime, I had been summoned to the 3th District Police HQ by my friend “Mr. Community Policing”, Assistant Chief Tilmon O’Bryant. To my surprise he swore me in and gave me police badge and no gun. The badge was to assist me in getting through the police and military barricades being put into place around the city. I was not a happy camper with this idea, but Tilmon stroked my ego and send me on my way. He rose through the ranks as the civil rights movement was taking root in the nation. He was a tough-minded, but fair officer who spoke out on race issues. He was committed to his job. He withstood pressure and prejudice to become a leader. He encountered opposition when he moved to end segregation in the department even while some of the “Good Old Boys” didn’t particularly like what he was doing.

He began his career as a patrolman in 1947 in what was then the 2nd Precinct, a notoriously crime-ridden area of the city. Within six years, he achieved the rank of captain. His promotion came at a time when few black people held supervisory ranks in the department. It was widely believed on the force that that the highest position a black could attain was detective sergeant, a non-supervisory role. The so-called “Glass Ceiling” in the department never stopped him. In fact he shattered it, when he was named Assistant Chief in 1972 making him the highest ranking black in the history of the department.

In 1959, the police department installed a merit system for promotions that combined written examinations and supervisor’s ratings. Shortly after, Chief O’Bryant and then officer, Burtell M. Jefferson, started an off-duty study course in Jefferson’s basement for black officers interested in taking the promotion exams. In the first two years that the classes were held, 20 out of 21 of their “students” received promotions.

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Burtell congratulates my brother Earl as he graduates from the DC Police Academy

When the city administration had difficulties attracting minority candidates to fill vacancies on the police force in 1968, it turned to Chief O’Bryant. He recommended that the times and locations of the tests be changed to accommodate the average worker. In his recruiting, Chief O’Bryant visited churches, civic associations and bowling alleys. His aim was to destroy the twin myths about police: “the department doesn’t want {blacks} and that {blacks} don’t want to be police officers.” In 1957, black policemen made up roughly 12 percent of the force. By 1969, the percentage had climbed to 30. Thanks to Tilmon.

Three months after he started his recruiting efforts, Chief O’Bryant was named commander of the 13th Precinct in my old neighborhood in NE DC, which had been heavily damaged during the riots that followed the assassination of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. in April of 1968. By then he had gained popularity from rank-and-file officers, as well as residents of the city.

In 1970, he became director of a newly created training and personnel division. His recruiting methods were innovative and sometimes controversial. It was his ideal to create an all-day radiothon to recruit cadets and dropped the minimum age to 20. Three years later, he was promoted to assistant chief in charge of field operations, becoming the highest-ranking black officer in department history at that time.
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Kids In Trouble Police & Youth Gang Forum: Congressman Tom Davis (R-Va) and NFL legend Jim Brown are the co-host.

In the meantime, the Chili Bowl was allowed to remain open thanks to Luke calling President Lyndon Johnson and asking him to allow Ben’s to stay open to help with the feeding of the military personel and cops. The President gave Luke the okay and he called the Chief of Police and had the order rescinded. Any thing else is made up BS.

I was out there for 4 days and I never saw Marion Barry, Congressman Fauntroy, Eleanor Holmes Norton, Petey Greene or anyone from Lee’s Flower Shop and no one from Industrial Bank were on the U Street corridor during the riots. Snipes and Ben were always present. Ben’s Chili Bowl “Historian” Bernard Demczuk did not come to town until after the “April Uprising” but there he was acting like an expert witness on the black community? The Fake News account was orchestrated by NBC TV 4 who had no clue.

The rest of the “Usual Suspects” may have community ties, like Saundra Butler-Truesdale who was seen being interviewed in Ben’s Chilli Bowl telling lies about her community involvement, but was nowhere to be found during the riots. She was even quoted saying how change in the U street corridor has improved the lives of the black community. Evidently, she has not read the recent Washington Post story compiled by the Economic Policy Institute saying, “50 years after a major study on INEQUALITY, no gains seen for blacks!”

Some people will say and do anything to be seen and heard on radio and television. Most of these expert eye witnesses emerged after the tear gas and smoke had cleared. I am not sure about the body count stats that were given–my count was three dead, one on Minnesota Ave. NE and two in NW DC.

Another “Little known Black History Fact” as it relates to the media: The television format for 7 On Your Side was first heard on W-U-S-T Radio. Former WJLA TV 7 anchorman Paul Berry got the idea and concept for the first ever television consumer help program in a guest appearance on Inside Sports. I piggy-backed off of my mentor the legendary radio and television icon, Petey Greene. In 1967-68 I was the sports voice of “Petey Greene’s Washington” heard on W-O-L Radio on Sunday evenings.

Paul Berry made an appearance as a guest on my Inside Sports talk radio show in the early 80s. He was surprised by the number of phone calls I was receiving from my listeners asking me for advice and help. The problems would range from employment, politics, school, DC Superior Court Court, police harassment, sports, etc. The callers were all seeking my advice and assistance in these matters. One caller ask Paul for his advice relating to her boyfriend liking the Dallas Cowboys and she was a Redskin fan. She wanted to kick him to the curb. Paul took the 5th and she was not happy with his response. She than ask me if I was on her side and I said, “Lets see what the next caller has to say about that” and I took the next caller.

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Paul and I co-host a Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show

After the show Paul asked me if the calls were like that every Saturday and I said, “Always.” He thought I should expand the show to another hour, but I was happy with the one hour time slot. He also tried to convince me to leave DC and go to a smaller market and come back to one of the major outlets here in DC.

His advice went in one and out the other, there was no way I was leaving my home town of Washington, D. C. for parts unknown. Anyone who was someone would eventually find their way to the Nation’s Capitol and I was right.

Two months later I turn to TV 7 NEWS and there was Paul with 7 On Your Side. He had convinced the management at the station to allow him to bring 7 On Your Side to the airwaves and the rest is television history. Now every local television media outlet in America has a 7 On Your Side or something similar. It all started in Washington, DC on Inside Sports.

Paul became a big star in TV news and would spent decades in the news department winning several Emmy Awards. In the 90s in a contract dispute the station refused his salary demands and shown him the door never to be seen on local news again.

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Melvin Lindsey, Jim Vance and Dave Dupree attend Kids In Trouble toy benefit.
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Jim Vance and I volunteer at ‘The Roy Jefferson Reading Center’ on K Steet, NW

The print, radio and television media personalities that came through Inside Sports and Kids In Trouble in there first ever reach back efforts in the community read like a who’s who in media. The list include, the late Jim Vance (TV 4), Fred Thomas (TV 7), Maureen Bunyan (TV 7), Paul Berry (TV 7), Lark McCathy (TV 5), James Brown (CBS), Cathy Hughes (TV One), Michael Wilbon (ESPN), Dave Aldridge (TNT), Melvin Lindsey (WHUR Radio), Donnie Simpson (WKYS/BET), Bill Rhoden (ESPN), Larry Fitzgerald (ESPN), sports personalities who turned TV personalities, John Thompson, Sugar Ray Leonard, Adrian Dantley, and Adrian Branch. The only trail blazer and media pioneer to escape my community and sports talk show programs was the great television pioneer Max Robinson (TV 7).

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The gang is all here: The Kids In Trouble Board of Directors.

Max and I were like ships passing in the night. We would see each other at press conferences and wave or blew our horns as we encountered each other on the then mean streets of DC . Max would later become the first black news anchor on national television. He co-anchored ABC World News Tonight with Frank Reynolds and Peter Jennings from 1978-1983.

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Maureen Bunyan, Lark McCathy and Donnie Simpson during Foxtrapp toy drive.

There was a moment I will never forget, the popular CIAA Basketball Tournament was being played in Max’s hometown of Richmond, Virginia. I was sitting in the Marriott Hotel where I was staying and having breakfast one morning when I looked across the room and spotted Max. We went through our usual ritual and waved to each other and I kept on eating and reading the paper. The next thing I knew, I was looking up and he is standing in front of me. He said, “Come on over I want you to meet someone.” I followed him over to his table and he introduced me to his mom and dad.
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The next words that came out his mouth left me speechless, he said, “Mom and dad I want you to meet my friend Harold Bell, he has the best sports talk show in Washington, D. C.” It was a very emotional scene for me, because it was like I had found a long lost brother and he was introducing me to our parents. I knew he was seriously ill and fighting several demons. Two years later he died. I have never forgotten that morning at the Marriott in Richmond, Virginia–talking about a kodak moment—Priceless with a giant in media–my friend Max Robinson.