Friday, July 12, 2024

Latest

Related Posts

Nathaniel Sweetwater Clifton: You Shouldn’t Forget His Basketball Legacy

Affiliate Disclosure: Some links on Spotcovery.com are affiliate links. If you click and purchase through these links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. We only recommend products and services we believe will provide value to our readers. Thank you for your support!
spot_img

Apart from his attention-grabbing name, which sportswriters complained about, hence the name Nat Clifton, Nathanial Sweetwater Clifton’s large hands were a notable feature throughout his basketball years. 

Additionally, he was a standout player, one of the first black players to feature in the NBA after a successful high school career. Although he never won an NBA Championship, Sweetwater as he was commonly known left an indelible mark in the game. 

Become an insider.  Subscribe to our newsletter for more top trending stories like this!

People Also Read: Here’s the NBA MVP list of 6 Incredible Ballers Who Topped the Game

Get a quality television set on Amazon.

Nathaniel Sweetwater Clifton’s Early Life

Career review of Nathaniel Sweetwater Clifton. Video Credit: NBA Cares

The basketballer was born in England, Arkansas and later moved to Chicago with his family. He got his nickname Sweetwater from his tendency to take soft drinks and his easygoing nature.     

During his high school days, Sweetwater was one of the best basketball players in DuSable High School. From there, he joined Xavier University of Louisiana but took time away from his studies to do military service in World War II. 

On his return, Nathaniel played for the New York Rens, an all-black team, between 1945 and 1947. He also played for the Harlem Globetrotters where he demonstrated his ballhandling skills on the court. 

In 1950, after joining the New York Knicks, Nathaniel Sweetwater was among the first black players to sign an NBA contract. He experienced racial abuse traveling with the team, but had an ally with his coach Joe Lapchick.

People Also Read: Larry Doby: The Man Who Broke Baseball’s Color Barrier

Buy quality and affordable sports shoes on Amazon.

NBA Championships

The Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton Story. Video Credit: JDunlapTV

Despite the racial tension, Sweetwater never lost sight of his game. He was influential in his team, playing 66 games in the regular season and averaging 8.6 points and 7.6 rebounds per game. Sweetwater’s numbers were close to those posed by top ballers of the time, despite his wanting to play a more defensive game.

He helped the New York Knicks win the playoffs against the Syracuse Nationals, making a comeback in game 5 and winning it by 85-83, to take the team to its first NBA finals. 

They contested for the title against the Rochester Royals. However, the team had a bad record against them, so that wasn’t the best way to go into the game. In a best-of-seven game, the Knicks started poorly, losing the first three games. 

However, they overturned the game four results to remain in the contest, Nathaniel Sweetwater’s 14 points and 17 rebounds saw them win the game 79-73.

Become an insider.  Subscribe to our newsletter for more top trending stories like this!

By the time game seven came around, the Knicks tied the championship games and there was all to play out for. The Knicks started poorly but regained momentum, tying the game to 69-69.

At the most important moment, Nathaniel Sweetwater Clifton mishandled the ball and the Rochester Royals capitalized on his foul to win the game 79-75.

Join our Spotcovery Global Black Community Facebook Group for early access to exclusive content and to share in a lively discussion.

Grab yourself a soccer jersey from Amazon.

After New York Knicks

After an unforgettable first season with the New York Knicks, Sweetwater played for the team until 1957. He played in the championships two more times, in 1952 and 1953. After he left the Knicks, he played for the Detroit Pistons and the Chicago Majors after which he retired. 

The basketballer died in 1962 and was later inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Nathaniel Sweetwaters Clifton enjoyed the heights of the game at a time when he was one of the few black people on an NBA court. He seemed to have charmed the fans and remains to be an important figure in the game’s history. 

People Also Read: 7 Oldest Sports in the World You Should Know

Get a pair of floor cleaners on Amazon.

Nearly 80% of consumers visit directories with reviews to find a local business. List your business for free in our exclusive Spotcovery Black-Owned Business Directory.

Spotcovery offers unique and fresh daily content on Black culture, lifestyle, and experiences. We talk about everything black, black people, black-owned and black-owned businesses. We also deliver authentic and relevant content that will inform, inspire, and empower you! The future of black media is critical to today’s black experience! Our primary audience includes African Americans, Africans, Afro-Caribbean, and people of African heritage. Black culture is for the culture!

Become an insider.  Subscribe to our newsletter for more top trending stories like this!

Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi
Agnes Amondi is a sports enthusiast who enjoys sharing sports knowledge. Over the years, she has also written on different niches, and she now brings that experience at Spotcovery. She writes sports content and also, Arts & Culture, Recipe, Beauty and more.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here
Captcha verification failed!
CAPTCHA user score failed. Please contact us!

Popular Articles