A Trailblazing Basketball Player & Coach Remembers the Early NBA

September 12, 2022
Hosted by Ron Roel

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Guest Information

Episode Description

As a child in the 1940s in Philadelphia, Ray Scott idolized the Harlem Globetrotters, whom he credits with introducing him to professional basketball in an era when it was a predominantly white spectator sport. So when he was drafted by the National Basketball Association’s Detroit Pistons in 1961 he was already familiar with the Black ground-breakers in the League, figures like Earl Lloyd, the first Black man to play in an NBA game. Little did he expect that just over a decade later he would become a coach, and soon a basketball icon himself, as the first Black coach to be named the NBA’s Coach of the Year. In today’s episode, Ray Scott talks about his experiences as a player and coach—and much more—that he recounts in his new memoir, “The NBA in Black and White: The Memoir of a Trailblazing NBA Player and Coach.” He will offer a storied history of several other prominent Black players of his time, including Wilt Chamberlain, Oscar Roberson and Bill Russell, and the impact they had transforming the game. Along with his favorite memories as player and coach, Ray will detail his formative role in the creation of the modern-day NBA through his contribution in establishing the NBA players’ union in the 1960s. He’ll provide his perspective on issues of racial discrimination and integration over his lifespan, including his involvement in the civil rights movement, from meeting Dr. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X to working alongside Coretta Scott King. And finally, Ray will talk about how he transitioned from his NBA years into a successful post-basketball life of business and social service.

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Ron Roel

I’m a veteran journalist who spent a wide-ranging career covering business, politics and social issues, the last two decades focusing on the blend of diverse life skills I call successful aging.

I have written extensively on aging topics, spoken at conferences, radio and TV shows, and launched several entrepreneurial ventures, discovering along the way that the path to aging well also requires an unexpected entrepreneurial vision. I spent 20 years as a writer and editor at Long Island’s daily newspaper, Newsday, helping to found Act 2, a weekly section for 50-plus readers. I created Roelresources.com, a website offering practical advice and inspirational essays for people ages 40 and above. I have been a volunteer and consultant to AARP Long Island, writing articles, advocating for seniors, and developing action plans for the AARP Age-Friendly Communities initiative.

I am active in programs and organizations that support seniors, such as the National Aging In Place Council and the Senior Umbrella Network. I have developed a special expertise in family caregiving, as one of four brothers who took care of their mother for almost 25 years. I regularly collaborate with many professionals who provide services and support for older Americans, and I am completing a book for caregivers on Long Island, “The Caregiving Navigator/How to Plan, What to do, and Where to Turn When Caring for you Aging Loved Ones. And Yourself,” scheduled for publication in early 2021.

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Episode Directory

October 2022

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