They Made the Difference: African-American Athletes

By Off the BASN Sports Wire By Maria Hutchinson
Updated: June 2, 2005

BALTIMORE, MD.—They made the difference. Black athletes have set the stage for greatness over the years. It doesn’t matter which sport you prefer, be sure that a black athlete significantly influenced it, whether it be in the Olympic Games, Super Bowls, NBA Championships, or the World Series just to name a few. Black athletes have made a significant mark in history.

Not only did these athletes excel in their respective sport, some did positive things for the community. Despite the variety of sports teams, the National Basketball Association, and the National Football League have the greatest influence from the time they originated to the present.

The National Basketball League has been a very popular sport over the years. During the days of Doctor J, young boys would sit around the television and aspire to be just like him. As the years progressed more and more young black men gained the ability and courage to enter this sport. It wasn’t long until Magic Johnson and Michael Jordan came into the league and dominated for many years. They definitely left a lasting impression on their generation and many more to come.

Not only did they dominate the sport of Basketball they dominated in the retail industry, from T.G.I. Fridays restaurants and Magic Johnson Theaters just to name a few. Johnson has made a lasting impression on consumers. Michael Jordan has made his “Jordan Brand” tennis shoes a must have for many males across the country. Not only the tennis shoes he made popular, Jordan’s clothing line has become equally as popular.

Football is another sport that many blacks have flocked to over the years. In the very beginning, people like Ernie Davis set the stage for many record breaking and phenomenal seasons. Davis was the 1st black to win the Heisman Trophy. The Heisman Trophy is awarded to an outstanding college player who is aspiring to go into the NFL. It is the most prestigious award for college students to obtain. Since the days of Davis, many have come into the NFL, and they too have left a lasting impression. Walter Payton known widely for his great accomplishments in football is second among rushing leaders all-time in running and combined net yards. Additionally, Payton was voted MVP of the league in both 1977 and 1985. Today the Walter Payton children’s foundation has a big influence in aiding children causes. Also, the Payton Power Equipment Company has become dominant force in Chicago as well as in other places.

There are many influential blacks within other sports such as Boxing, Baseball, Tennis, and Track and Field just to name a few. If it’s the past, present or future one thing is certain, blacks have, are, and will continue to dominate.