((HT: NBA TV))
The NBA lost a piece of its history Wednesday...
Ken Hudson was the NBA's first African-American referee who started his career in 1968. The 2009 recipient of the Mannie Jackson Award was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in that class...
He passed of Stage 4 prostate cancer and had been given lifetime status as an NBA Observer by Commissioner David Stern after his reffing career came to a close. Hudson was a staunch supporter of HBCU programs and their efforts and was also a retired executive at Coca-Cola.
**Note from Brother Phil**--Ken Hudson spent his latter years around Hawks practices in Atlanta. He was always welcomed by both the team and the players. I got to talk with him a couple times, just an aside and during an interview that I shot with friend of the OSG Gil Tyree. Hudson was absolutely fascinating to listen to.
He will be missed. But he also will be remembered.
Here's Hudson with Rick Kamla talking about his barriers...
1815 UPDATE: NBA Commissioner David Stern issued this statement...
"Ken was truly a pioneer among NBA officials. As one of the first two
African-American referees, he blazed a trail for the many who have since
followed. His dedication to his craft earned him the respect of his peers,
and his tough, yet fair-minded approach made him a favorite among players.
Ken also understood the importance of giving back to his community, using
his status as an executive with Coca-Cola to help support youth basketball
initiatives in Boston and Atlanta. He will be greatly missed, but his
impact on the game of basketball will continue to be felt for years to