Chuck Cooper, one of the names synonymous with Duquesne basketball’s storied past, and a trailblazer in sports, has been elected to the Naismith Memorial Hall of Fame class of 2019.
Cooper, an All-American during his Duquesne career (1947-50), was the first African-American player drafted by an NBA team.
Cooper was elected after his case was presented, along with 13 other nominees, to the Early African-American Pioneers Committee.
In 1950, Cooper was a second-round pick (13th overall selection) of the Boston Celtics. As he drafted Cooper, the owner of the Celtics, Walter Brown, said, “I don’t give a damn if he’s striped or plaid or polka-dot, Boston takes Charles Cooper, of Duquesne!”
Cooper played four seasons in Boston and six overall in the NBA, finishing with 2,725 points, 2,431 rebounds and 733 assists.
Cooper also played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Recently, Duquesne announced that the university’s newly-renovated, on-campus basketball arena would be named UPMC Cooper Fieldhouse. The new facility is set to reopen for the 2020-2021 season.
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