Philly basketball legends honored

Gene Banks was one of the most celebrated high school basketball players to ever play in Philadelphia. He led West Philadelphia High School to three Public League and three city championships from 1975 to 1977. — PHOTO/WASHINGTON WIZARDS

The Philadelphia Association of Black Sports and Culture, Inc. will recognize basketball legend Wilt Chamberlain (posthumously), Gene Banks, former West Philadelphia High, Duke University and NBA standout and C. Vivian Stringer, Rutgers head women’s basketball coach and Hall of Famer, at a special ceremony on Sunday, September 30 at the Oaks ballroom, 511 W. Oak Lane in Glenolden (Delaware County). The event will begin at 2 p.m.

Chamberlain, Banks and Stringer are just three of seven honorees who will be saluted that day. The others include: Dr. Shirley Turpin Parham (posthumously) educator and historian; Norman Oliver, director of the “Stormin Norman” Basketball League in Wilmington, Del.; Mark Sills, president/founder of Urban Youth Inc. in Wilmington, Del.; and Larry Wilson, Gwynedd Mercy track coach.

This is a big year for Chamberlain as the NBA celebrated the 50th anniversary of his 100-point game. On March 2, 1962, he scored 100 points to lead the Philadelphia Warriors to a 169-147 win over the New York Knicks in Hershey, Pa.

Chamberlain was a huge star in the NBA from 1959 through 1973 when he played for the Philadelphia Warriors (which later became the San Francisco Warriors), Philadelphia 76ers and Los Angeles Lakers. He scored 31,419 points and grabbed 23,924 rebounds.

Chamberlain won two NBA championships. He guided the 1966-67 to an NBA title and the Lakers to a 1972 NBA crown. The 7-foot-1, 275-pound center, earned four Most Valuable Player awards, one Finals MVP award and was chosen to 13 All-Star games and 10 All-NBA first and second teams.

Chamberlain played his college basketball at the University of Kansas. In his first varsity game, he scored 52 points and snared 31 rebounds, shattering both all-time college records in an 87-69 win over Northwestern. In 1957, he led Kansas to the NCAA Finals and was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four.

At Overbrook High, he won three Public League and two city championships. He scored 90 points against Roxborough High School in 1955. He scored 2,206 points in his scholastic career and currently ranks third in the Public League.

The former Overbrook High All-American is “under consideration” to receive a postage stamp in his honor according to the U.S. Postal Service. Fans can support the effort by signing the online petition at www.phillytrib.com.

Banks was one of the most celebrated high school basketball players to ever play in this city. He led West Philadelphia High School to three Public League and three city championships during the years of 1975, 1976 and 1977. Banks scored 1,694 career points in high school. He led the Speedboys to a 79-2 record during his playing days including a 30-0 mark in 1977.

Banks, a 6-foot-7 forward, played four years at Duke. In 1978, he carried the Blue Devils to the NCAA Finals. He was Hall of Fame head coach Mike Krzyzewski’s first superstar. He received All-Atlantic Coast Conference honors. He was one of the best players in the ACC.

In 1981, he was a second round pick of the San Antonio Spurs. He played four years with the Spurs and two seasons with the Chicago Bulls. He also played professional basketball in Italy and Israel.

Banks is currently an assistant coach/player development with the Washington Wizards. This is his second season on the Wizards staff.

Stringer is one of the best coaches in women’s college basketball. In 2009, she was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. This is her 16th season coaching the Scarlet Knights.

In 1971, Stringer started her coaching career at Cheyney State. In 1982, she led the Wolves to their first NCAA championship. She coached All-American Yolanda Laney, who was a major star at Cheyney State. She had an amazing record at Cheyney State. She had a 251-51 slate in 12 seasons. After that, she coached at Iowa for 12 years, putting together a 269-84 mark. She coached the Hawkeyes from 1983 to 1995. Following a tremendous stint at Iowa, she came to Rutgers where she has built a terrific basketball program. She amassed a 343-173 record during her coaching career with the Scarlet Knights.

She has taken three different teams to the Final Four. She has a sensational 863-308 record. This is her 41st season in coaching.

The PABSC is celebrating its six annual legends banquet. The organization started in 2002. The PABSC honors those who have made outstanding contributions to the community and serves as role models and mentors for positive change in sports and culture. Tickets are $60.00. For ticket information, contact Bill Baggett at (215) 696-9313.

 

Contact staff writer Donald Hunt at (215) 893-5719 or dhunt@phillytrib.com.

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