Donald Angelo Barksdale was a professional basketball player. The pioneer having a number of African-American firsts to his credit, his jersey number was 17.
His early life went into struggle to achieve his basketball goal as his coach did not approve of his talent, the reason being, he was black. This 6’6 200 lbs athlete attended the Berkeley High School, where the coach cut him from short from the team for three straight years as he didn’t wanted any one black player in his team.
In Marin Junior College, he honed his playing skills in park and then he played for two years across San Francisco Bay, before he earned a scholarship to UCLA. He became the first African American to be named consensus All-American in 1947. He was also a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek letter organization established for the African Americans.
In 1948, he became the first African American to play with the US Olympic team and he joined the team in Basketball at the 1948 Summer Olympics. In 1951, he signed a contract with the Baltimore Bullets and entered NBA as a 28 year old Rookie. Whilst in the team of Bullets, he became the first African American to appear in an NBA All-Star Game in the 1953 NBA All-Star Game.
Afterwards, he was traded to the Boston Celtics and two years later, his basketball career got cut short due to ankle injury. After his career ended, he returned to radio, where he started his own recording label and even opened two nightclubs in Oakland.
However, he succumbed to throat cancer when he was 69.