Fortenberry with the Phillips 66ers.
April 1, 1911|
|Died||June 3, 1993
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||200 lb (91 kg)|
|High school||Happy (Happy, Texas)|
|College||West Texas A&M (1929–1932)|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joe Cephis Fortenberry (April 1, 1911 – June 3, 1993) was an American basketball player who competed in the 1936 Summer Olympics. He was part of the American basketball team, which won the gold medal. He played two matches, including the final. He was the high scorer in the gold medal game.
After college, Fortenberry played for the Ogden Boosters in Utah, then with the McPherson Oilers in McPherson, Kansas. This was the team that won the AAU National Championship in 1936, prior to the Olympics. After he played in the Olympics, Fortenberry played five seasons with the Phillips 66ers, the perennial power in the AAU basketball league, the premier basketball league in the United States before the NBA. He played from the 1936-1937 season through the 1940-1941 season, winning an AAU national championship in 1940.
Fortenberry is credited with being one of the first, if not the first, to slam dunk the basketball; this appeared in a New York Times article by reporter Mr. Daily. He is also credited as the cause of the goaltending rule, because he could so easily slap the ball away, and ending the jump ball after every successful basket, because he usually got the tip.
Fortenberry was not only the first basketball player to "slam dunk" but he did it with two hands and could still do it when he was 55 years old.
His Olympic gold medal was shown recently on Antiques Roadshow on PBS. The estimated value of the medal was placed at $100,000 to $175,000.
- Interview with his son, PBS, Antiques Roadshow #2103, Fort Worth, Hour Tree, first airdate January 16, 2017.
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