February 1, 1960: North Carolina Agricultural and Technical College students Ezell Blair Jr., David Richmond, Franklin McCain, and Joseph McNeil host a sit-in at the separate Woolworth lunch counter in Greensboro, NC on February 1 . 1960. They refused to leave after being refused service, and the sit-in movement spread to the South.
March 9, 1961: Wilt Chamberlain averages 50.4 points per game for the Philadelphia Warriors – still the highest scoring average in NBA history. He’s also averaged 25.6 rebounds this season. Despite his garish numbers, Boston’s Bill Russell won the first of three straight MVP awards.
March 2, 1962: Wilt Chamberlain scores 100 points, a one-game record that has not been approached. The 7-foot-1 cross helped the Philadelphia Warriors beat the New York Knicks 169-147 in Hershey, Pa. Chamberlain had 23 points at the end of the first quarter, 41 at halftime and 69 at the end of the third. He saved his best to last, losing 31 in the final period. He made 36 of 63 baskets and 28 of 32 free throws.
March 14, 1962: Oscar Robertson averages a triple-double for the Cincinnati Royals in the 1961-62 season. He averaged 30.8 points, 12.5 rebounds and 11.4 assists. No one has averaged a triple-double yet until Russell Westbrook accomplished the feat for the Oklahoma City Thunder in 2017.
April 14, 1962: Elgin Baylor scores 61 points in 48 minutes in the NBA Finals, helping the Los Angeles Lakers take a 3-2 lead over the Boston Celtics. His record for goals in the final still stands. He made 22 of 46 shots from the ground and 17 of 19 free throws at Boston Garden.
October 1962: A 13-day standoff between the United States and the then-Soviet Union begins when American spy planes take photos showing the Soviets positioning nuclear missiles under camouflage in Cuba. President John F. Kennedy orders a naval blockade of Cuba to stop the delivery of more missiles before negotiations end the crisis. The Soviets agree to withdraw the missiles from Cuba, the United States withdrawing its missiles from Turkey.
April 24, 1963: Bob Cousy comes out on top. The 34-year-old “Houdini of the Hardwood” injured his ankle with his Boston Celtics leading the Los Angeles Lakers in the fourth quarter of Game 6 of the NBA Finals. He came back with five minutes remaining and helped Boston win 112-109 for their fifth straight title.
August 28, 1963: Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. delivers his “I Have a Dream” speech from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial during the March on Washington. King calls for an end to racism in the United States.
November 22, 1963: President John F. Kennedy is shot and killed while walking in a procession through Dealey Plaza in Dallas, Texas. Lyndon Johnson is quickly sworn in as president after Kennedy’s death at Parkland Memorial Hospital.
January 14, 1964: Just before the All-Star Game, a group of players led by Bill Russell and National Basketball Players Association President Tommy Heinsohn agreed to boycott unless the league recognizes their union and makes significant concessions regarding retirement, player safety and timing. . The match was scheduled to be played on ABC and would be the first All-Star Game televised. In the absence of a game, the league would suffer from embarrassment and a lost opportunity when trying to secure a contract for national television and beyond. League Commissioner Walter Kennedy relented and the game was played.
February 27, 1964: Boxer Cassius Clay announces two days after defeating Sonny Liston for the heavyweight championship that he has converted to Islam. This prompted his name change to Muhammad Ali.
April 4, 1964: Oscar Robertson wins his only MVP award. He averaged 31.4 points, 11.0 assists and 9.9 rebounds for the Cincinnati Royals. It was one of the highlights of a career that saw him averaging 25.7 points, 9.5 assists and 7.5 rebounds per game.
August 7, 1964: Two American destroyers report being the target of North Vietnamese fire on August 2 and 4. Congress approves the Gulf of Tonkin resolution authorizing President Lyndon B. Jonson to take all necessary action in Southeast Asia for fighting the Vietnam War.
December 26, 1964: Boston Celtics’ Bill Russell, Willie Naulls, Satch Sanders, Sam Jones and KC Jones become the first five all-black players in NBA history. The Celtics win on the road, beating the St. Louis Hawks 97-84.
1965: Oscar Robertson becomes the first black president of the National Basketball Players Association, a title he held until 1974. In 1970, he filed an antitrust class action lawsuit against the NBA on behalf of his colleagues seeking to prevent a merger of the NBA. NBA with the American Basketball Association until issues with player movement are resolved. This led to a settlement known as the “Oscar Robertson Rule” in 1976 that helped NBA players become the first great professional athletes to gain free will.
February 21, 1965: Malcolm X is shot dead in the Audubon Ballroom in Manhattan ahead of his address to his group, The Organization of African American Unity by a man using a sawed-off shotgun and two others with handguns . He disagreed with Martin Luther King on the struggle for civil rights, preferring blacks separated from whites and a return to Africa.
March 7, 1965: John Lewis and Hosea Williams lead around 600 people planning to walk towards Montgomery who are arrested as they attempt to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge to Selma. They are greeted by sheriff’s assistants, state soldiers and others who give them two minutes to disperse. More than 50 marchers, including Lewis, are hospitalized after MPs and soldiers invaded them with horses using clubs, whips and tear gas. Television cameras broadcast the assault on what became “Bloody Sunday,” with protests across the country over the next two days in support of the protesters.
March 21, 1965: Martin Luther King Jr. leads a march from Selma to Montgomery and the Alabama capital after protesters have been arrested twice previously by local police. About 25,000 people took part in the approximately 80 km march that reached the state capital on March 25 and contributed to the signing of the Voting Rights Act on August 6, 1965.
April 15, 1965: The flight of John Havlicek late in the seventh game of the 1965 East Division Finals triggers the famous radio call from announcer Johnny Most. Boston led 110-109 and the Philadelphia 76ers had the ball with five seconds left. Havlicek took a peek and saw where Hal Greer’s pass was heading. He gave it to Sam Jones, who dribbled the clock. The Celtics won their seventh title, beating the Los Angeles Lakers in five games in the final.
March 19, 1966: Texas Western defeats Kentucky 72-65 for the NCAA College Men’s Basketball Championship with the first five all-blacks to win an NCAA title. Future NBA coach and now Miami Heat president Pat Riley led Kentucky’s roster, and Wildcats coach Adolph Rupp didn’t sign his first black rookie until 1969.
April 24, 1967: Wilt Chamberlain finally breaks through. The Philadelphia 76ers won the NBA title in 1967, the only year in a decade that a team other than the Celtics won the championship. The 76ers beat the Celtics 4-1 in the Eastern Conference Finals, then outscored the San Francisco Warriors 4-2 to win it all.
January 30, 1968: North Vietnamese and Vietnamese troops launch attacks in major cities and regions with American targets in a major turning point in the Vietnam War. The offensive continued in September and ended with the victory of both camps. But public support for the United States is weakening after months of reporting on the fighting.
April 26, 1968: Wilt Chamberlain wins the last of his three consecutive MVP awards. He averaged 24.3 points, 23.8 rebounds and a career-high 8.6 assists per game for the Philadelphia 76ers. He, Bill Russell and Larry Bird are the only players to win three consecutive MVP awards.
April 4, 1968: Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. is shot dead while speaking with Reverend Jesse Jackson while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee. King had returned to Memphis to support black sanitation workers protesting wages and working conditions.
June 5, 1968: Robert F. Kennedy is shot dead by Sirhan Sirhan in a kitchen hallway at the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles after winning the Democratic primaries in California and South Dakota. He died 26 hours later in a hospital. Sirhan was convicted of murder and his death sentence was later commuted to life in prison.
October 16, 1968: Tommie Smith and John Carlos raise a gloved fist with black socks to the medal podium to protest the treatment of black people in the United States after receiving their medals for the 200-meter race at the Mexico Games. Smith won gold with a world record of 19.83 seconds and Carlos bronze. Smith and Carlos were both sent home.
July 20, 1969: Neil Armstrong, commander of Apollo 11, leaves the Eagle moon landing module and becomes the first human to walk on the moon televised to hundreds of millions of people on Earth.
May 5, 1969: Los Angeles Lakers goaltender Jerry West becomes the first, and to date only, player to win the final MVP title on a losing team. He had 42 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists in a Game 7 loss to the Boston Celtics in Los Angeles. Bill Russell won his last player coach title for his 11th championship in 13 years.
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This story was originally published November 22, 2021 11:31 pm.