On August 11, the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass., honored Harlem Globetrotters Legend “Jumpin’ Johnny” Kline, New York Knicks guard Chauncey Billups, and The V Foundation for Cancer Research with The Mannie Jackson - Basketball’s Human Spirit Award.
“We are delighted to honor such a remarkable group for their contributions to the basketball community with The Mannie Jackson, Basketball’s Human Spirit Award,” said John L. Doleva, President and CEO of the Basketball Hall of Fame. “This year’s recipients have truly made a measurable impact through their selflessness, leadership and determination in the communities and constituencies they serve.”
The criteria for award winners includes embracing the core values of the game through hard work, dedication, and resilience; striving to continuously improve the community they serve, and making an ongoing commitment to others. Beyond the game, award winners must reflect the values of Mannie Jackson’s life-long mission to overcome obstacles and challenge the status quo, while taking responsibility for personal actions and seeking the highest standard of excellence.
Dr. Kline, Billups, and The V Foundation were chosen from a group of six finalists after nominations were screened by a selection committee, appointed by the Hall of Fame and Mr. Jackson. Beginning in 2009, the finalists were grouped in three categories, representing the professional, amateur and grassroots levels of basketball.
Dr. Kline spread goodwill around the world with the Globetrotters from 1953 to 1959 and was part of the team’s first-ever undefeated season in 1959, during which they posted 441 wins. After his playing career ended with the Globetrotters, Dr. Kline earned a doctorate in history and philosophy of education. He founded The Black Legends of Basketball in 1996, an organization that recognizes pioneers in the game of basketball.
Thursday's ceremony was the tip-off to the Hall of Fame's weekend festivities, highlighted by enshrinement of the Class of 2011, which included the original "Clown Prince of Basketball," Harlem Globetrotters Legend Reece “Goose” Tatum.
Tatum was joined in the Class of 2011 by former players Chris Mullin, Dennis Rodman, Artis Gilmore, Tom “Satch” Sanders, Arvydas Sabonis, and Teresa Edwards; and coaches Tara VanDerveer, Herb Magee, and Tex Winter.