|Born||July 11, 1934|
Winnsboro, Louisiana, U.S.
|Died||September 3, 2007 (aged 73)|
Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.
|Listed height||6 ft 7 in (2.01 m)|
|Listed weight||220 lb (100 kg)|
|High school||Compton Union|
|NBA draft||1957: 8th round, 60th overall pick|
|Selected by the Philadelphia Warriors|
|Position||Power forward / center|
|Number||14, 21, 35, 18|
|1960–1961||St. Louis Hawks|
|1961–1963||Chicago Packers / Zephyrs|
|1963||St. Louis Hawks|
|1965||New Haven Elms|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Career NBA statistics|
|Points||4,930 (10.7 ppg)|
|Rebounds||3,618 (7.8 rpg)|
|Assists||498 (1.1 apg)|
|Stats at NBA.com|
|Stats at Basketball-Reference.com|
Woodrow Sauldsberry Jr. (July 11, 1934 – September 3, 2007) was an American basketball player. He was the NBA's Rookie of the Year in 1958 and in 1966 he won the NBA championship as a member of the Boston Celtics.
Following his college career, Sauldsberry was part of the Harlem Globetrotters for two years. In 1957 he was drafted by the Philadelphia Warriors in the eight round with the 60th overall pick. After his first season, he was named the league's Rookie of the Year — the second African American ever to win the award and becoming the lowest overall draft pick ever to win the award, a record he still holds. On January 2, 1959, he scored a career high 41 points against the Syracuse Nationals. The same month, he was selected to play in the NBA All-Star Game.
On October 17, 1961, Sauldsberry was among seven players—the others being Bill Russell, Al Butler, Sam Jones, K. C. Jones, Tom Sanders, and Cleo Hill— to refuse to play in an exhibition basketball game over alleged discrimination. The five members of the Boston Celtics said that a hotel coffee shop denied them service, after which they told Coach Red Auerbach they wanted to return to Boston. Sauldsberry and Hill joined the five in refusing to play the game.
In January 1963, Sauldsberry was traded back to the Hawks for Barney Cable. On March 13, he was suspended by the Hawks for a week following a dispute with head coach Harry Gallatin. He did not return to the team and was left of its playoff roster. In June 1963, he was waived by the Hawks.
After two years away from the NBA, Sauldsberry worked out for the Boston Celtics during the 1965 pre-season before playing for the New Haven Elms in the Eastern League. In November 1965, he signed with the Celtics for the season. After the NBA refused to accept the contract, Sauldsberry filed a class action suit against J. Walter Kennedy and all the NBA teams, except the Celtics, for a conspiracy to keep him out of the league. In December, the NBA approved the contract when the Celtics and Sauldsberry agreed to conditions laid down to them and the suit was officially dropped in January 1966. He played his last NBA game on March 1, 1966, missing the rest of the regular season and playoffs due to a back injury.
Sometime in the late 90s, Sauldsberry was diagnosed with diabetes and had to have his leg amputated.
He died September 3, 2007, aged 73 in Baltimore, Maryland. An article by Dan Klores alleges that when Sauldsberry died, "he was broke, alone and on the verge of losing his left leg to diabetes, which took his right."
NBA career statistics
|GP||Games played||GS||Games started||MPG||Minutes per game|
|FG%||Field goal percentage||3P%||3-point field goal percentage||FT%||Free throw percentage|
|RPG||Rebounds per game||APG||Assists per game||SPG||Steals per game|
|BPG||Blocks per game||PPG||Points per game||Bold||Career high|
|†||Won an NBA championship|
- "NBA halts Celtics' bid to sign Sauldsberry". The Brattleboro Reformer. Associated Press. November 20, 1965. p. 6. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- Matt Velazquez (June 26, 2017). "Brogdon named Rookie of the Year; Antetokounmpo Most Improved". Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Retrieved February 17, 2023.
- John Webster (January 3, 1959). "Woody gets 41 as fans throw debris at refs". The Philadelphia Inquirer. p. 16. Retrieved February 17, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Coaches select 10 players for All-Star contest". Galesburg Register-Mail. January 6, 1959. p. 10. Retrieved February 17, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hawk, Celtic Negro Players Boycott Game". Alabama Journal. Montgomery, Alabama. October 18, 1961. p. 13. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- John J. Archibald (November 20, 1961). "Levane named Hawks' coach; Big trade is suspended". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 45. Retrieved February 20, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- John J. Archibald (January 31, 1963). "Sauldsberry reacquired by Hawks". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 35. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hawks' Sauldsberry is suspended after row with Gallatin". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. March 14, 1963. p. 27. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- John J. Archibald (March 19, 1963). "Pettit man to watch, say Pistons". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. p. 26. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sauldsberry dropped for poor attitude". Anderson Herald. United Press International. March 23, 1963. p. 7. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Hawks put Sauldsberry on waivers". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. June 11, 1963. p. 32. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- Dick Young (November 28, 1965). "Sauldsberry case is important to all sports". The Sunday News and Tribune. New York News. p. 9. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "NBA OK's Sauldsberry as a member of the Celtics". The Bangor Daily News. Associated Press. December 14, 1965. p. 15. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sauldsberry suit dismissed in court". Bennington Banner. United Press International. January 4, 1966. p. 6. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- Clif Keane (March 3, 1966). "Cloud follows C's Sauldsberry". The Boston Globe. p. 37. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Sauldsberry injured, may never play again". Newsday. March 3, 1966. p. 137. Retrieved February 16, 2023 – via Newspapers.com.
- Brodie, James Michael (March 28, 2001). "Life and Basketball: The Redemption of Woody Sauldsberry". Baltimore CityPaper. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
- Rick Maese (January 25, 2008). "A moving screen". Baltimore Sun. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
- Dan Klores (September 7, 2007). "End basketball's blacklist". New York Daily News. Retrieved February 16, 2023.
- Brodie, James Michael "Life and Basketball: The Redemption of Woody Sauldsberry" Baltimore City Paper, March 28, 2001
- Woody Sauldsberry statistics provided by BasketballReference.com
- Fond Farewell – National Basketball Retired Players Association.