African American Impact on Sports

Topics: Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Major League Baseball Pages: 5 (1740 words) Published: September 19, 2012
"A life is not important except in the impact it has on others' lives." This quote was said by Jackie Robinson who was important in paving the way for other black athletes in professional sports. He was the first black baseball player to play in Major League Baseball.What would professional sports be without all the greatest black athletes such as Michael Jordan, Muhammad Ali or Jackie Robinson? Today the NBA is filled with a large majority of African American players. The NBA would be nothing without those players. Muhammad Ali was a boxer, businessman and social activist for equal rights for all races. He wanted equal opportunities for all men, regardless of color, to be successful. Michael Jordan was considered the best basketball player of all time with five regular season Most Valuable Player awards along with three all-star MVPs. He had a huge impact on the sport, dominating it from the mid 80’s through the late 90’s. Professional sports and society would not be the same without them. African American athletes, including Jackie robinson, Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan and others had a huge impact on American society and sports such as baseball, boxing, basketball and football.

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born on January 31, 1919, in Cairo, Georgia. Throughout his 10 year long career he was constantly fighting for more rights for blacks in sports and society. Jackie was the first African American to play in Major League baseball. He was the youngest of five children who were raised in poverty by a single mother. Him and his family already had a hard life even aside from all the racism they faced living in the south in the early 1900’s. His older brother Matthew was one of his biggest inspirations for him to pursue his talent in athletics. Matthew won an olympic silver medal in the 1936 olympic games. After high school Jackie went to the University of California where he lettered in four different varsity sports. Before he could graduate he had to drop out for financial reasons. He then went on to play semi-pro football in Hawaii, but the season was cut short due to the starting of World War II. For two years he served as a lieutenant in the United States Army. However he was arrested for not moving to the back of a interracial bus. The charges were later dropped and he was given an honorable discharge. He had alot of courage and was very against segregation. After his discharge he played professional baseball in the negro leagues. But because of Robinsons great success he was soon hired by Branch Rickey to play for the Brooklyn Dodgers, in the white league. Branch knew Jackie would be facing severe racism but told him to fight it and stay strong. Throughout his career Robinson’s courage was tested. Even many of his teammates were against his playing on their team. Jackie and his family received many threats and criticism.

Despite all this adversity Robinson still was extremely successful and was leading the AAA league with a .349 batting average and .985 fielding percentage. This success got him promoted to the MLB and the first game a black player ever played in an MLB game was April 15, 1947. The harassment continued. Many teams threatened to not sit out against the dodgers and even some of his own teammates threatened to not play. However Dodgers Manager Leo Durocher told his other players that he would trade them before Robinson. Leo had a very strong loyalty to him. Some people defended Jackie including baseball commissioner Happy Chandler and league president Ford Frick. Jackie Robinson was successful in showing how talented a player he was by being able to push through all the racism and adversity. His first year he helped the Dodgers win the National League pennant. He also led the league in stolen bases and won the Rookie of the year award. In the 1949 season he had a .342 batting average and led the league once again in stolen bases. This led to him being named the National league’s Most...
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