The Black Fives: The Epic Story of Basketball’s Forgotten Era

Abrams. May 2022. 480p. ISBN 9781419744365. $30. SPORTS
Historian Johnson (founder of the Black Fives Foundation) presents a treasure trove of information that dramatically reshapes American basketball history, detailing the invaluable role of Black Americans in shaping the game and contemporary basketball culture. “Black Fives” was an early term for all-Black basketball teams, whose history Johnson has spent 20 years researching and preserving. His interviews and archival documents are beautifully framed around stories of innovators of the game, providing a comprehensive historical context of the painful discrimination faced by Black Americans in the early 1900s and often today. Johnson’s narrative spans from the creation of the sport by James Naismith in 1891 through the beginnings of the National Basketball Association in 1946.
VERDICT Highly readable, this work should not be missed. Essential and highly recommended for all libraries.
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