“Somebody said to me, ‘Well, it wasn’t the right time.’ That’s the same thing they said to the black people,” Nera White remarked about disinterest in women’s sports, on the day she was inducted to the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. “When is the right time? When the white males decide it’s the right time for people that they discriminated against? I don’t have anything against white males, but I could almost say that they could take it and cram it.”
Basketball star Nera White rarely gave interviews, but when she did, her personality came out in priceless commentary like that. Raised on a Tennessee farm in a family of seven children, in 1955 she started playing for a team sponsored by the Nashville Business College and helped secure 10 Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) national championships. White was AAU MVP 10 times, MVP at the Rio de Janeiro world championships in 1957, and AAU All-American for 15 consecutive years. An obituary in the Washington Post released this week after White died from pneumonia at age 80 quotes her as once saying, “Did I have game? You know that move Jordan made on the Lakers, switching the ball from one hand to the other? I was doing that in the ’50s.”
She became the first woman inducted into the Naismith in 1992 and was inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame on the day it opened in 1999.
White traveled across Europe and Latin America on the team, for which she played until 1969. Her obituary also notes that during a high school basketball game, the 6-foot-1-inch woman once reportedly dribbled for the entirety of the fourth quarter to prevent another team from scoring.
Read the full story at the Washington Post.