By Lee Hubbard
This year’s inductees into the Oakland based African American Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame are no different.
Seven athletes ranging from former NFL players San Francisco 49er John Brodie, Dallas Texan Chris Buford and Oakland Raider Willie Brown, to legendary track and field coach Bud Winter, track and field Olympian Pat Connerly, to Ben Parks, a high school coach who mentored various professional sports athletes to Lucius Bateman, a trailblazing black golfer and golf teacher.
Arif Khatib, the founder of the African American Ethnic Hall of Fame said, “This year will be the first year we have inducted non-minorities into the African American Sports Hall.”
One of them will be Brodie, who was born and raised in Oakland, attending Oakland Technical High School. A former pro football legend with the San Francisco 49ers and later a professional golfer, he was nominated because of his advocacy for fairness as a player.
“As a player, he contributed heavily to the African American community,” continued Khatib. “Cedrick Hardmon nominated Brodie. Hardman played defensive lineman with the San Francisco 49ers and Oakland Raiders. He said if not for Brodie, he would not have made it in the NFL.”
The African American Ethnic Hall of Fame ceremony will take place March 19 at the Temple on the Hill Theater, 4620 Lincoln Avenue in Oakland. Renel from KISS-FM (98.1) will serve as the mistress of ceremonies. The reception for the event will start at 6 pm, dinner at 7 pm and ceremony at 8 pm.
“Last year, there were 300 people at the event,” said Khatib. “This year, we are expecting 400.”
Besides the athletes that will get inducted into the African American Ethnic Hall of Fame, other athletes and community people will be recognized. They include C.A. Robinson, a former Richmond California police officer, who founded the Police Activities League in Richmond. Bridgette Cook, will receive the Community Award for her community activism. Atkins Brothers will receive the Don Johnson Tennis Award, for being an advocate for tennis in under-served communities and Alona Clifton will receive the Leadership Award for her role in being a grassroots advocate in education.
“It is important to honor our legends, so that people will not forget the struggles that these individuals have achieved,” continued Khatib. “Yet they have endured and achieved.”