Thu, Aug. 7, 2014 - [Men's Basketball] - Viewed 117 times
NEW ORLEANS, La. — Nathaniel "Sweetwater" Clifton, a Xavier University of Louisiana standout in the 1940s and an NBA pioneer nearly 60 years ago, will be inducted Friday into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame at Springfield, Mass.
Clifton, selected as a contributor to the sport, is the first from Xavier to earn induction. He is one of 10 inductees this year.
A right-handed power forward listed from 6-feet-6 to 6-9 on various online sites, Clifton was one of a handful of African-Americans to integrate the NBA in the 1950-51 season. Clifton scored 16 points for the New York Knicks in his NBA debut on Nov. 4, 1950 — he was 28 years old at the time — and played eight seasons in the league, all but one with the Knicks.
In 544 NBA games, Clifton averaged 10.0 points and 8.2 rebounds. He averaged a double-double in his second and third seasons — 10.6 points and 11.8 rebounds in 1951-52, 10.6 and 11.3 rebounds in 1952-53 — and averaged a career-best 13.1 points in 1954-55. He was a member of NBA runner-up teams each of his first three seasons.