JoJo White Honored by St. Louis Gateway Classic Walk of Fame
By Peter F. Stringer
August 31, 2006
When you talk about the recent history of basketball, JoJo White's name seems to keep popping up.
On Saturday, August 19, White was among nine African American achievers inducted into the St. Louis Gateway Classic Sports Foundation Walk of Fame. The Walk of Fame recognizes African Americans achievers who have contributed to their community, and many of the inductees are among the first African Americans to serve in their field.
White is the first African American from St. Louis to play in the NBA, and he's very proud of the honor recently bestowed on him at the Walk of Fame.
A seven-time All-Star for the Celtics, White is no stranger to being honored, but he said that being recognized in his hometown was special to him, since his family could be there to see it.
"I'm really excited about it," said White. "They put your name in the sidewalk just like in Hollywood. It's so touching to me to go back and be honored in St. Louis."
White certainly achieved quite a bit in his basketball career. He was a member of the last amateur team to win the gold medal at the 1968 Olympics, and he's best known in Boston for his performance in the triple overtime win in the 1976 NBA Finals against the Phoenix Suns, regarded by most hoop historians as the greatest game ever played. White was named NBA Finals MVP.
Also notable is White's role in the 1966 NCAA Tournament with the Kansas Jayhawks, which was highlighted in the motion picture Glory Road, which chronicles the rise of the Texas Western team that went on to win the NCAA Championship that season.
White was famously called for stepping out of bounds on what would have been a game-winning shot in the double-overtime game against Texas Western. White maintains he never actually stepped out and that his 35-foot gamewinner should have counted. Holding up an old picture from the game, White asks, "Does it look like I'm out of bounds?"
Out of bounds or not, White contends that while he feels it was a bad call, it allowed for the Texas Western team to go on to win the title, which was an important event in the history of college basketball.
"Looking back, that call ended up contributing to the greater good of the game," said White.
These days, White gives back as the Director of Special Projects for the Celtics Community Relations department. Aside from his involvement in many of the team's community efforts, White also spends time mentoring Celtics players about being better players and the importance of giving back to the community.