Indiana House joins Shackleford in honoring Jerry Harkness

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House members today joined State Rep. Robin Shackleford (D-Indianapolis) in honoring Jerry Harkness for his success as a basketball player and a champion for civil and social justice in our state.

Harkness, a native of New York City, first gained attention when he helped the Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers win the 1963 NCAA basketball title during a college career where he was also named an All-American. He went on to play in the NBA for the New York Knicks and then the Indiana Pacers, where he made an 88-foot shot to win a basketball game.

“His career as a Pacer made him a legend in our city, but success on the basketball court was only the first step for Jerry Harkness,” Shackleford said. “After he retired from the Pacers, he became the first African-American sportscaster for WTHR-TV (Channel 13) and WTLC radio.

“At the same time, he developed a passion to volunteer and give back to his community,” she continued. “He became the first African-American fundraiser for the United Way, and helped found both Indiana Black Expo and the 100 Black Men in Indianapolis.”

Jerry’s career has resulted in numerous awards, including his induction into three basketball halls of fame (Indiana, Manhattan, and Harlem) as an individual, and the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame with the 1963 Loyola team. He has received the NCAA Silver Anniversary Community Service Award; the Boy Scout “This is Your Life” Service Award; the Jefferson Community Service Award; the Sports Illustrated Award; and the Muhammad Ali Award. He also received recognition from President Barack Obama for his contributions.

“This is a man who has worked for his community selflessly for many years,” Shackleford said. “He’s had the kind of career that deserves our recognition and appreciation.”

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