Former Illini great Mannie Jackson inducted into Basketball Hall of Fame


Photo courtesy of Illinois Athletics

Former Illini Mannie Jackson is honored by having his jersey retired at Assembly Hall in 2013. Jackson was one of the first African-Americans to letter and start in basketball at Illinois. This September, he will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in the Class of 2017 along with nine other former stars.

By Lucas Wright , Staff writer

A former Illini basketball great was among those announced to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame Class of 2017. Mannie Jackson will be inducted along 10 other former players Sept. 8 in Springfield, Mass.

Jackson spent some of his time at the helm of the Harlem Globetrotters. He bought the team in 1993 and helped revive it to record attendance and revenue growth. With this purchase, he became the first African-American owner of a global sports and entertainment brand.

Jackson also served as Chairman of the Board for the Basketball Hall of Fame from 2007-09. He is also the namesake of Mannie Jackson — Basketball’s Human Spirit Award. The NCAA gave Jackson the Theodore Roosevelt Award in 2015, the association’s top honor.

Jackson and Govoner Vaughn became the first African-Americans to letter and start in basketball at Illinois during the 1957-58 season. On the court, Jackson averaged double digits in three-straight seasons and also earned two All-Big Ten honors. He finished his Illini career with 922 points, which at the time put him in fifth place on the school’s all-time scoring list.

“He is a pioneer whose determination and vision have been felt not only by generations of Illini fans, but also by basketball fans the world over,” said Illinois Director of Athletics Josh Whitman in a press release. “We are grateful to Mannie for his contributions to the game and, more locally, for his ongoing commitment to the University of Illinois and Fighting Illini Athletics.”

Along with Jackson, the 2017 Basketball Hall of Fame Class will feature former Illinois and current Kansas head coach Bill Self. Self led the Illini to back-to-back Big Ten Championships in 2001 and 2002, compiling a 78-24 record in three years with the program.

There are nine other inductees in the Class of 2017, including former NBA star Tracy McGrady and the late Jerry Krause,  general manager of the Chicago Bulls when the team won six NBA titles in the 1990s.

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