We are delighted to report that our friend, former New York Rens and Washington Bears player John “Boy Wonder” Isaacs, has been elected into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame! The announcement was made on Valentine’s Day during the NBA All Star Weekend! He was direct elected by the special Committee on Early African American Pioneers.
Isaacs’ many achievements include All-City honors and a New York City high school basketball championship with Ben Franklin H.S. (1938) as well as World Championships with the Rens (1939) and Bears (1943), followed by over 50 years of coaching, mentoring, and community service. He was inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.
This was a long time in coming—Isaacs was a Hall of Fame finalist in 2005 and 2006 but did not get enough votes either time—however, everyone is glad now and there is no looking back. “Claude Johnson you know how long we awaited this very moment,” wrote Isaacs’ daughter Karen “Cookie” Isaacs in a Facebook comment, addressing the Black Fives Foundation’s executive director. “We are so very proud and happy tears of joy rolled down my face this morning thank you so much for all your hard work and effort we love you as much as DADDY DID.”
Enormous thanks must go also to the many advocates, fans, and supporters who were behind Isaacs all these years while continually making the case for his enshrinement.
He will be inducted into the Hall of Fame’s Class of 2015 during special ceremonies to be held September 10-12 in Springfield, Massachusetts, the birthplace of basketball, along with four other direct-elect members: Tom Heinsohn, Louie Dampier, Lindsay Gaze, and George Raveling.
In addition to these directly elected new members, finalists for the Class of 2015 include Dick Bavetta, John Calipari, Bill Fitch, Tim Hardaway, Spencer Haywood, Robert Hughes, Kevin Johnson, Dikembe Mutumbo, Bo Ryan, Jo Jo White, Leta Andrews, and Lisa Leslie. The entire Class of 2015 will be announced prior to the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship Game in Indianapolis on Monday, April 6.
Here are some of our favorite tweets following the announcement:
#2015HOF Finalist, John Isaacs from the Early African American Pioneers Committee
— Basketball HOF (@Hoophall) February 14, 2015
2015 @HoopHall direct elects: John Isaacs, Tom Heinsohn (now inducted as coach AND player), Louis Dampier, Lindsay Gaze & George Raveling!
— NBA (@NBA) February 14, 2015
John Isaacs of the New York Rens is the first direct elect. Nice to see that historic franchise get some love.
— DeAntae Prince (@DeAntae) February 14, 2015
John Isaacs of NY Rens is in Hall
— Mark Herrmann (@markpherrmann) February 14, 2015
— Joe Favorito (@joefav) February 14, 2015
In '90's met John Isaacs, an original Harlem Ren. Was and still is the highlight of my bball life. pic.twitter.com/cF47Us7xSa
— Norman Suber (@nowutraining) February 17, 2015