What is the term “Black Fives”?

The term “Black Fives” refers to the African American basketball teams that played prior to the racial integration of professional leagues such as the National Basketball League, the Basketball Association of America, and the National Basketball Association.

The Black Fives Foundation takes the history of African American basketball pioneers and fast-forwards to modern times, seeking ways to engage, teach, and inspire people today, particularly youth.

Finally, the term “Black Fives” has become a brand and it is a registered trademark of the Black Fives Foundation.

What is the “Black Fives Era”?

The Black Fives Era is the period of time between 1904, when the first all-black basketball teams began to play, and 1950, when the N.B.A. introduced its first African American players.

Is the history of the Black Fives only for black people?

The history of the Black Fives and the Black Fives brand are pure culture.  People love pure culture.  For example, is the Italian Renaissance art only for Italian Americans?  Is Native American art only for Native Americans?  Of course not.  Neither is the Black Fives brand, its history, its art, its culture, or its meaningfulness only for African Americans.

What is the brand’s slogan?

Our slogan is “Make History Now!” It is a call to action as well as a way to embody our mission, to make this history relevant today.

For what age group is the history of the Black Fives most appropriate?

There’s no age limit or target. We did an online survey once and the youngest respondent was 16 years old and the oldest was 88 years old.

Is this mostly for guys or is there information and material that applies to females as well?

The term “Black Fives” has no gender attached. There is no gender difference in terms of what’s valuable about the history of the Black Fives.  Also, there is a large amount of information about African American women’s basketball teams included in this site.  Please look around, and have fun!

I can’t find something.  What should I do?

Just use the convenient “Search” box by typing search terms associated with the item or information you’d like to find. A great deal if information is also available on The Black Fives Blog.

Were there more Black Fives Era basketball teams and players than just those that you’ve presented on this site?

Yes.  There were dozens of teams and hundreds of players.  The teams and players listed here are just the ones we are featuring at this time.  To stay tuned for updates, please subscribe to our BlackFives.org email list!

Do you ever give presentations at schools, colleges, or other locations?

Yes.  For more information please contact us.

Can you help me if I am writing an essay about the Black Fives Era?

We can’t help write your essay, but we can recommend The Black Fives Blog as a good place to look for topic ideas as well as details for research. You could also visit our Facebook fan page to correspond with like-minded folks about their perspectives, opinions, and thoughts on your ideas. Maybe someone out there will even proof-read your paper! Or just post it up to get some feedback.

Are any of the players from the Black Fives Era still alive?

Very few of the players from that time are still with us.  However, their descendants are still here and many of them are part of a collective effort we are helping to organize, to preserve and revive the history of their ancestors.  For more information about this initiative, please see our Descendants page.

What should I do if I believe that one of my relatives played on a Black Fives Era team or made contributions to this valuable history in one way or another?

We’d be interested in speaking with you, and would be glad to help you find out more. But first, speak with your relative and try to find out what years he or she played, in which city or cities, and for which team(s). Once you’ve collected a bit of background information, then feel free to contact us any time.

Will there be a forum at some point in the future?

Yes, we are working to incorporate a forum for fans, descendants, researchers, and others to communicate with one another, ask questions, share ideas, and much more. We will let everyone on our email list know about it once we have something to share.