Ex-Sonics Captain Brown is Among Hall Inductees

By Off the BASN Sports Wire
Updated: May 8, 2005

SEATTLE,WA.—The Pacific Northwest chapter of the African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame will induct four athletes and two Seattle high-school basketball teams in a ceremony and banquet today at the University of Washington.

Fred Brown, Charles Mitchell, Dave Mann and Rhonda Smith-Banchero will be among the class inducted, while the Chief Sealth and Garfield girls basketball teams will join them after winning state high-school titles this past season.

All of the inductees will be at the banquet today at the Don James Center at Husky Stadium, which begins at 4 p.m. Tickets, which may be purchased at the door, are $65.

Brown, captain of the Sonics for eight years, was best known for his stint on the NBA championship team of 1979. He is currently managing a team within the small business banking group of Bank of America, where he is a senior vice president.

Mitchell, the chancellor of the Seattle Community College District and a nationally recognized leader in higher education, played with the Huskies on the 1961 Rose Bowl team. After college, he played in the NFL for six years with the Denver Broncos and Buffalo Bills.

In 1953, Mann became the first black athlete from the state of Michigan to sign a pro baseball contract. He played pro baseball for 13 seasons with the St. Louis Browns, Brooklyn Dodgers, Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. He was also a Seattle Rainier in 1964-65 before retiring. He now works as sports editor of The Facts Newspaper in Seattle.

Smith-Banchero was a standout for the Washington women’s basketball team from 1992 to 1995, finishing as the UW’s all-time scorer. She also was a founding member of the Seattle Reign pro team, then became the first Washington player drafted in the WNBA. She works as a real estate agent with Windermere and is the assistant basketball coach at Holy Names Academy.

While the hall is looking for a permanent home, the plaques of its members are displayed at the Central Area Youth Association, which receives the proceeds from the event.

“We want to preserve the legacy of people of color in our community but also recognize their contributions above and beyond sports,” said Herbye White, the coordinator of the event.

The inductees from the inaugural class in 2003 were Bill North, Charlie Russell, Homer Harris and Joyce Walker. All but Walker will be at tonight’s banquet, which is expected to draw more than 200 people. A new class is inducted every two years.