Nnamdi Asomugha, Mike Tomlin, Brandon Marshall, Greg Lloyd, Penny Hardaway, KC Jones, Lloyd McClendon, Allan Houston, Jim Caldwell, Bill Willis, Darren Sharper, Antonio Pettigrew. It could go on and on, and the list wouldn’t get any weaker. What’s the connection here of all these names? Well they are all combined in excellence, and all combined as Brothers of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Today is the 101st anniversary of the founding of the Fraternity, which was founded and grew from oppositional roots in the Klu Klux Klan infested grounds of Bloomington, Indiana in the early 1900’s. From that time, it has spawned to touch and lead the lives of rows of African-American collegiate students, and has seen a great deal go on to become much more than that.
Featuring a ranks that has spawned Senators, Congressmen, mayors, civil rights leaders, prominent military figures and academics, there is no shortage of ACHIEVEMENT in the annuals of Kappa. I myself being a member since the spring of 2005 via the Delta Omega at the University of Missouri, and this being a sports site as you can see, decided to bring together two parts of my world and dedicate a special entry in the LINEUP series dedicated to the top 10 athletes to ever come from the fraternity.
From basketball Hall of Famers to Olympic Gold Medalists to Grand Slam Tennis champions, there are some potent offerings from the 10 men (fitting) that are to listed below. Enjoy, and YO to the Nupes.
10. Alex English: The top scorer of the 1980’s in the NBA kicks things off here. English became the first player in NBA history to score 2,000 points in eight straight seasons . Averaged better than 24 points a night for nine consecutive, with the Denver Nuggets making the playoffs each year as well. Became a Hall of Famer in 1997. (Zeta Epsilon, U. of South Carolina)
9. Kenny Lofton: In a 17 year career, most remembered during his stretch as a Cleveland Indian, Lofton was one of baseball’s most thrilling players in the ‘90s. A six-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove winner & five-time stolen base champion. He finished with 622 base swipes and a .299 career batting average. (Delta Omicron, U. of Arizona)
8. Jon Drummond: Two-time Olympic Medalist in the 4×100 meter relay, taking the Silver in 1996 before closing in the Gold in 2000 in the Sydney games. Also he won Gold in the 1993 and 1999 World Championships, and now coaches Olympic sprinter Tyson Gay as well. (Kappa Epsilon, TCU)
7. John Chaney: The fiery sideline general of the Temple Owls won over 70% of his games coached, and finished with 741 total victories. As a credit to his five Elite Eight appearances and six Atlantic Ten Conference titles, he was inducted into the National Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001. (Gamma Theta, Bethune Cookman)
6. Sam Jones: If you asked who’s won the second most NBA Championships of all-time, it may take a while to get around to the right answer, but Sam Jones earned that distinction by being a constant scoring threat for the Boston Celtics of the 1960’s. He brought home ten NBA championships, averaging 17 points per game. He was honored on both the 25th & 50th NBA All-Time Teams and joined the Hall of Fame in 1984. (Alpha Kappa, North Carolina Central)
5. Gayle Sayers: It didn’t take Sayers long to make his impact. He had 22 touchdowns as a rookie for the Chicago Bears. The six he scored in a single game are tied for the best day in league history. And although injuries stopped his career after only seven seasons, they couldn’t stop him from becoming a Hall of Famer in 1977. (Mu, U. of kansas)
4. Oscar Robertson: A one of a kind force on the basketball court, the Big O still stands as the only player to average a triple double for a season. For his career, his 181 triple double performances are far and away the best mark in league history. He had five seasons of averaging at least both 30 points and 10 assists. Off the court, he challenged to the NBA’s contract structure lead to the beginning of open market free agency as well. (Beta Eta, U. of Cincinnati)
3. Arthur Ashe: As much a champion off the tennis court as he was on it. He won three Grand Slam titles and became the only African-American winner of Wimbledon, the French Open or the Australian Open. During this time he was an advocate of social causes and lead protests for Haitian & South African causes. After contracting the HIV virus due a blood transfusion, he used the last days of his life to raise much-needed awareness to the disease in its early public days. (Upsilon, UCLA)
2. Wilt Chamberlain: The most prolific scorer in NBA history. His 100 point game, 50 point average season average, 27 rebound per game year & incalculable amount of blocks all stand as testaments of his dominance under the rim. He even led the league in assists once. All in all, the Big Dipper owns 72 different on court records, and one particularly infamous off-court number that is safe as well. (Mu, U. of kansas)
1. Bill Russell: Simply put, the greatest winner in professional sports history. A two-time NCAA Champion & 1956 Olympic Gold Medalist, it was his status as the centerpiece of the Boston Celtics dynasty that made him immortal. In 13 seasons, he won 11 titles, five MVP’s & made 12 All-Star games. In Game 7’s, his record was a perfect 10-0. He is widely considered the greatest defensive presence in league history, and never averaged lower than 19 rebounds a game.
Russell also was the first African-American coach in North American pro sports history, as well as the first to win a title, which he did as a player-coach in 1968 & 1969. In 2010, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his career & Civil Rights achievements. (Gamma Alpha, U. of San Francisco)
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