Michael Lynch / 90.5 WESA

Despite not having a professional team, basketball is expected to bring big bucks to the city of Pittsburgh this weekend.

Tourism agency VisitPittsburgh projects as much as $7 million will be pumped into the local economy thanks to the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championships at the Consol Energy Center on March 19 and 21.

Chuck Cooper’s Legacy for African-Americans in Basketball

Feb 17, 2015
Bagumba / Wikipedia

Chuck Cooper was a Duquesne University basketball star who became the first African-American drafted by an NBA team when he was selected in the second round by the Boston Celtics on April 29, 1950. In 2011, the Chuck Cooper Foundation was established in tribute to his legacy.

The foundation presents its annual Leadership, Diversity and Community Service Award this week. Joining us to discuss the legacy of Chuck Cooper is his son Chuck Cooper III.

Cooper explains that, like many other young men who played basketball in Pittsburgh, his father developed his skills as an adolescent at Mellon Park in Point Breeze.

Once in college, he says, the elder Cooper had a great amount of respect for Duquesne University, in part because of an incident involving the University of Tennessee’s basketball team in the late 1940s. The Tennessee team traveled to Pittsburgh but refused to play the Dukes if Cooper would be included on the court. In the face of this prejudice, Duquesne didn’t back down, and the Dukes management sent the Tennessee team back home without a game. This gesture of respect and solidarity meant a lot to Cooper, his son explains.

In 1988, a team of juvenile delinquents in Western Pennsylvania achieved the unexpected title of regional basketball champions. The story is told in the book All the Way Down: Changing Hearts and Minds by Robert Burnett.

Burnett was both coach and principal of at the Frew Mill School he talked about the team’s story and the impact it had on everyone around them.

Deanna Garcia / 90.5 WESA

Getting into the excitement of March Madness, Carlow University has announced that starting in the fall of 2014, the once-all-girl’s school’s first men’s basketball team will take the court. The Carlow University Celtics will compete in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA).

“This has been a few years in the making,” said Carlow University President Suzanne Mellon. “The original recommendation for a men’s basketball team originated from an athletics task force, a group comprised of students, faculty and staff that began meeting four years ago.”

Sports N' @ with Bob Dvorchak

Feb 25, 2013
Bob Dvorchak / Sports n'at

Pittsburgh Post Gazette sports writer emeritus a.k.a. our Sports Guy, Bob Dvorchak comments on the 2024 Olympics coming to Pittsburgh, the Steelers' locker room blow up and how about an NBA team for Pittsburgh?