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Lapchick family felt backlash due to Knicks coach’s views

By RICHARD E. LAPCHICK
For The Associated Press

Richard E. Lapchick shares some of the backlash his family felt that was directed at his father for signing the first Black player to an NBA contract. Lapchick directs the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport at the University of Central Florida. His father, Joe Lapchick, was the first coach of the New York Knicks. Joe Lapchick’s initial efforts to integrate what would become the NBA was thwarted in 1947 but he signed Nat “Sweetwater” Clifton in 1950. The vitriol came in waves, including anonymous, hate-filled phone calls and Richard’s dad being hung in effigy outside the family’s New York home.

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