John Isaacs

John 'Boy Wonder' Isaacs.

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:

John Isaacs with Julius Erving and Charles Barkley at a Footlocker event in Harlem

John Isaacs feeling right at home with Hall of Fame members Julius Erving and Charles Barkley at the Footlocker House of Hoops grand opening in Harlem in 2007.

Panel discussion at House of Hoops

With the world famous Apollo Theater in the background, basketball superstars Julius Erving, Charles Barkley, Chris Mullin, John Isaacs, and Kenny Smith discuss their experiences at the Footlocker House of Hoops grand opening in Harlem. All but Smith are now members of the Hall of Fame.