“The mystic wand of Posey ruled basketball with as much eclat as ‘Rasputin’ dominated the Queen of all the Russias.”
— The Interstate Tattler, 1929
Teams: Monticello Athletic Association, Monticello-Delany Rifles, Loendi Big Five, Monarch Elks Five, Homestead Grays Five
Born: 1890, Pittsburgh
Died: 1946, Pittsburgh
BREAKING: Cumberland Posey, Jr. was announced April 4, 2016 as an inductee into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame for the Class of 2016!
He will be the first ever to be enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown as well as the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield!
— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) April 4, 2016
Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr. was the best black basketball player of his time. Playing from the early 1900s through the mid-1920s, his peers considered Posey an “All-Time Immortal.”
He led Homestead High to the 1908 Pittsburgh City Basketball Championship, was Penn State’s first African American varsity basketball player while there for two years, enrolled briefly as a pharmacology and medicine student at Pitt, and then formed the famous Monticello Athletic Association team that won the Colored Basketball World’s Championship in 1912.
Posey later played for Duquesne University—using the alias “Charles Cumbert”—and led the Dukes in scoring for three seasons.
While at Duquesne, Posey simultaneously played for and operated the Loendi Big Five, a team he had organized in 1913 under sponsorship of the Loendi Social & Literary Club, an exclusive African American organization located in the Lower Hill District of Pittsburgh. The Loendi Big Five were the most dominant basketball team of the Black Fives Era through the mid-1920s, winning four straight black national titles, from 1919-1922.
While playing with the Monticello Athletic Association, Posey was a centerfielder for the Murdock Grays and the team’s subsequent owner, changing its name to Homestead Grays.
Posey retired from basketball in the late 1920s to focus exclusively on the business of baseball. He later became chief architect of the Negro National League. For his contributions to baseball, Posey was enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 2006.
He was enshrined in the Duquesne University Sports Hall of Fame in 1988, under his real name, Cumberland Willis Posey, Jr.
Posey is believed to be the only athlete in collegiate history who is enshrined in his school’s sports hall of fame without ever having enrolled nor having used his real name.
Posey’s on-court basketball talents and his off-court contributions to the game
are worthy of attention from earned him enshrinement into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Please see these additional articles for more on Cumberland ‘Cum’ Posey.