In the days of the cage game, William "Pop" Gates was considered one of the nation's finest basketball players. Always a scoring threat, Gates was a complete ballplayer on offense, a defensive specialist, and a strong rebounder. The 6-2 guard/forward is one of few athletes who went directly from a high school championship team (Benjamin Franklin, New York, 1938) to a World Professional Champion (New York Renaissance, 1939). "Pop" concluded his playing career in 1955 after serving as player/coach of the Harlem Globetrotters for five years. Born Aug. 30, 1917, in Decatur, Ala., Gates is the only player to have appeared in all 10 World Professional Basketball Tournaments. In 1989, Gates was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. He was presented with his Harlem Globetrotters "Legends" Ring on Feb. 18, 1995, at Madison Square Garden in New York. Gates passed away on Dec. 2, 1999, at the age of 82.

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