Nera White

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Nera White
Nera White.jpg
Personal information
Nationality USA
Born (1935-11-15) November 15, 1935 (age 78)
Macon County, Tennessee
Height 6 feet 1 inch (1.85 m)
Sport
Sport Basketball
Club Nashville Business College

Nera D. White (born November 15, 1935) is a retired American basketball player. She is considered one of the most outstanding female players in history.

Early life and education[edit]

White was born in Macon County, Tennessee and attended the George Peabody College for Teachers (now part of Vanderbilt University), along with Sue Gunter and Doris Rogers,[1] both of whom went on to play for the United States women's national basketball team. She completed all of the undergraduate requirements for a degree in education except for the student teaching requirement, which she was unable to complete due to shyness.[2] George Peabody did not have a women's basketball team, so she played for the AAU team in Nashville sponsored by Nashville Business College.[3]

Basketball career[edit]

She was named AAU All-American for 15 years in a row from 1955 to 1969,[4] and she led the Nashville Business College team to ten AAU national championships during that period. White was named the MVP of the AAU National Tournament nine times.[4] While she played for Nashville Business college, the team once had a stretch of 92 games where they won 91.[5] White was "widely acknowledged as the greatest woman ever to play the game".[6] In 1966, Harley Redin (head coach of the Wayland Baptist Flying Queens, the dominant team of the 1950s) called her the "greatest woman basketball player in history".[7]

In 1957 she led the US National Team to winning the World Championship.[8] She was named the MVP of the tournament, and voted the Best Woman Player in the World.[5] She was enshrined in the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992[9] and in the Women's Basketball Hall of Fame in 1999.[10] White is one of only two players inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame based on AAU accomplishments, the other being Joan Crawford.[2] At the turn of the century, Sports Illustrated for Women identified the century's greatest sportswomen. Nera White is #51 on the list of all sports, and is the sixth highest basketball player on the list, behind Cheryl Miller, Teresa Edwards, Ann Meyers, Nancy Lieberman and Anne Donovan.[3]

I've coached two Olympic teams and I've seen the best players in the world. Nera White is the best of them all.

Sue Gunter, [3]

Hall of Fame player and coach Sue Gunter said that White was the best of the best.

In addition to her basketball prowess, White was also an accomplished softball player. She was honored as All-World in 1959 and 1965 for the ASA Fast Pitch softball team. She played centerfield, shortstop and pitcher. White was the first woman to ever circle the bases in ten seconds.[5]

Legacy[edit]

The high school gym in her hometown, Lafayette, Tennessee is named after her.[11][12] A local highway (State Route 10 North) has been renamed Nera White Highway.[13]


USA Basketball[edit]

White played on the US National team, in the 1957 World Championship. The World Championship game was against the USSR, the first time the USA had faced the USSR in a major competition. The USA came into the final with a single loss to Czechoslovakia, while the USSR was undefeated. The USA team was down by three points at the half, but came back in the second half to win the championship 51–48. White was the leading scorer on the USA team, averaging 14.1 points per game.[8]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Rogers played for the USA team at the 1963 Pan American games, which won gold, and the USA team at the 1964 FIBA World Championships"All-Time USA Basketball Women's Roster // R". USA Basketball. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Ikard 2005, p. 136
  3. ^ a b c Deitsch, Richard. "51. Nera White, Basketball". CNN/Sports Illustrated. Retrieved 2 May 2010. 
  4. ^ a b Porter 2005, p. 506
  5. ^ a b c Porter 2005, p. 507
  6. ^ Grundy 2005, p. 98
  7. ^ Ikard 2005, p. 130
  8. ^ a b "SECOND WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP FOR WOMEN -- 1957". USA Basketball. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  9. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  10. ^ "WBHOF". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  11. ^ "NERA WHITE". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  12. ^ "Macon County Times". Retrieved 2009-05-27. 
  13. ^ Ikard 2005, p. 143

References[edit]

  • Grundy, Pamela (2005). Shattering the glass. New Press. ISBN 978-1-56584-822-1. 
  • Ikard, Robert W. (2005). Just for Fun: The Story of AAU Women's Basketball. The University of Arkansas Press. ISBN 978-1-55728-889-9. 
  • Porter, David L., ed. (2005). Basketball: A Biographical Dictionary. Greenwood Press. ISBN 978-0-313-30952-6. 

External links[edit]