John Isaacs learned to play basketball while growing up in Harlem, New York. He gained top honors on his high school team and played professionally for the famed New York Renaissance, assisting in their 1939 “World” title. During World War II, Isaacs played for several professional basketball teams, including the 1943 champion Washington Bears. Following his basketball career, Isaacs worked full time as a clerk for New York Life Insurance during the day and at the Boys and Girls Club in the evening in the Bronx. Isaacs dedicated his life to the youth of New York City over the next fifty years, serving as a mentor and counselor, endorsing education through basketball, and teaching the history of the professional game. This brief biography of John Isaacs’ life highlights his early fight against racism while on the road with the Rens, his work with youth, and his quest for the retirement of Nathaniel “Sweetwater” Clifton’s jersey.

The text of this article is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.