The Real Harlem Basketball Players inducted seventeen members into its 2022 Hall of Fame class last Saturday including Boston Celtics great Thomas Ernest “Satch” Sanders Credit: Bill Moore photo

The decision was made earlier this year by the Real Harlem Basketball Players organization to induct New York basketball great Thomas Ernest “Satch” Sanders into their Hall of Fame last weekend at the Salem United Methodist Church. This proved timely given his contributions to the Boston Celtics dynasty led by the great Bill Russell, who passed away last month at the age of 88.  

Brought onto the church’s stage at West 127th and Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard by  Harlem Chamber of Commerce chairman Lloyd Williams, Sanders, 83, an eight time National Basketball Association (NBA) champion who played power forward alongside Russell with the Celtics in the 1960s, was one of several honorees from New York City’s basketball community receiving tributes on Saturday afternoon.

Playing 13 seasons in the NBA, Sanders spent his entire career with the Celtics, but New York City was where he was born and learned the game as a student-athlete attending Seward Park High School and New York University. He was drafted with the eighth pick in 1960 and went on to have his No. 16 retired by the Celtics.

Also inducted were Harlem Globetrotters icon Bobby Hunter, DeWitt Clinton and Marquette Univeristy great Butch Lee, playground legend Earl “The Goat” Manigault and St. John’s coaching great Lou Carneseca.

“We honor and celebrate those outstanding players and contributors who’ve made a name for themselves and who’ve left an impressionable mark in the minds and memories of the Harlem basketball community,” said Gary Barnes, a RHBP organizer and board member.

“Harlem’s rich basketball history is a major part of basketball’s history, it’s legacy.”

Rounding out this year’s inductees, seventeen in total were, Lloyd Adams, Rodney Butler, Brenda Caldwell, David Diase, Franklin Edwards, Anthony Greer, Herman Harrell, Billy Meggett, Santos Negron, Sam Stith, Tom Stith and Frank “Shake and Bake” Streety, brought onto the stage by his long time friend Pee Wee Kirkland, one of the most revered figures in the history of New York basketball.

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