Cumberland Posey, Jr. with the Monticello Athletic Association basketball team, circa 1910. (The Black Fives Foundation)

Cumberland Posey, Jr. with the Monticello Athletic Association basketball team, circa 1910. (Swain Collection Courtesy of the Black Fives Foundation)

BREAKING: Cumberland Posey, Jr. was announced on April 4, 2016 as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for its Class of 2016!

He will be the first individual ever to be enshrined in Cooperstown (Baseball Hall Of Fame) as well as in Springfield (Basketball HOF)!

This is a tremendous accomplishment for the pioneering Pittsburgh prodigy and a wonderful local success story for that amazing city.

Posey was directly elected by the Early African American Basketball Pioneers Committee, which was formed in 2011. Prior inductees elected by this committee were Reece “Goose” Tatum, Don Barksdale, Edwin Bancroft Henderson, Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton, and John “Boy Wonder” Isaacs.

“It’s a wonderful accomplishment for him, and all our family takes great pride in this,” said Evan Baker, a grand-nephew of Posey who is a pathologist at UPMC Mercy Hospital and an assistant professor of pathology at Pitt. “To go through it twice is beyond words.”

Posey died in 1946 at age 55.

Baker and his family were among those present at a celebratory event held at Duquesne. Also attending were County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, Duquesne president Charles Dougherty, Pitt history professor and author Rob Ruck and Claude Johnson of the Black Fives Foundation, who advocated nearly two decades for Posey’s induction into the Naismith Hall of Fame.

—Bob Cohn / Pittsburgh Tribune

“Today, we honor a man who could be called Pittsburgh’s forgotten champion,” said Duquesne president Charles Dougherty. Duquesne University created the Cumberland W. Posey Jr. Endowment Fund in 2013 with a principal of $1 million to assist in the retaining of minority students with financial needs.

“His teams beat all comers, white and black; they did so with athletic skill, with intelligence and dignity,” said Ruck of the University of Pittsburgh, the author of Sandlot Seasons, a breakthrough book about the city’s black sports history published in 1987. “Pittsburgh became ‘Titletown, USA’ and nobody was more integral to that story than Cum Posey,” Ruck explained. “His teams won more championships in two different sports than the Steelers and Pirates combined.”

The grass-roots campaign to get Cumberland “Cum” Posey enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame began one day in 2002 when two men met at a Starbucks in Pittsburgh and drafted a plan to unearth the story of one of the best athletes the area has seen.

On Monday, 14 years later, Claude Johnson and Rob Ruck were together again to celebrate the campaign’s joyous conclusion. Mr. Posey will be inducted in September, the hall announced.

—Stephen J. Nesbitt / Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“He was really the king of his time, and he touched many different aspects of Pittsburgh,” Johnson said.

The enshrinement for the 2016 Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame class will take place in Springfield, Mass. on Sept. 8-10.

To find out a lot more about Posey, start by visiting his profile page on this site.