Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Chuck Cooper

Charles Henry Cooper

September 29, 1926
Pittsburgh, PA

February 5, 1984
Pittsburgh, PA

1942-43 Westinghouse High School - Pittsburgh (High School)
1943-44 Westinghouse High School - Pittsburgh (High School)
1944-45 West Virginia State College (College)
1946-47 Duquesne University (College)
1947-48 Duquesne University (College)
1948-49 Duquesne University (College)
1949-50 Duquesne University (College)
1950-51 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1951-52 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1952-53 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1953-54 Boston Celtics (NBA)
1954-55 Milwaukee Hawks (NBA)
1955-56 St. Louis Hawks (NBA)
1955-56 Fort Wayne Pistons (NBA)
1956-57 Harlem Magicians (Independent)

After playing at Westinghouse HS, Cooper went to West Virginia State but only last a semester before the Navy called. Cooper left to serve his country in World War 2 as the war was coming to an end.. He returned from the war and enrolled at Duquesne, playing basketball all four years and graduating with a BS degree. He was drafted by the Boston Celtics, becoming the first black to be drafted into the NBA. He debuted just one day after another black athlete, Earl Lloyd, broke the NBA color barrier on the court. Cooper spent four years with the Celtics before being sold to the Milwaukke Hawks on May 15, 1954. He stayed with the Hawks through their move the next off-season to St. Louis through January of 1956, when he was waived. He was picked up by the Pistons to finish out the season. He then signed on to play with the independent Harlem Magicians for a season before an injury from a car accident ended his playing career. He went to receive a Master's Degree in Social Work from the University of Minnesota and returned to Pittsburgh to work work with various youth groups and organizations in the city. He was named Director of Pittsburgh's Parks and Recreation Department in 1970, and continued working in a similar capacity for years.

Cooper was 57 when he died of liver cancer in 1984.

He and his wife, Irva, had three daughters and a son.

Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, February 6, 1984


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