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Lockhart is first Bahamian enshrined in a pro basketball hall of fame

Osborne “Goose” Lockhart has finally made his own very special Bahamian historic breakthrough.

He owns a place in history that will belong only to him, forever. He is the first Bahamian professional basketball player to be enshrined in a world hall of fame category for that sport. This past Sunday, the world-famous Harlem Globetrotters organization, during its show in Minneapolis, Minnesota, honored the 6’1” point guard. He was saluted as a Globetrotter legend.

It is good that Lockhart has been recognized as one of the best in his sport. For much of his competitive basketball life, and up to now, he has been overshadowed. At Miami Jackson High, where he teamed with Cecil Rose, Charles Thompson and Mychal Thompson, as the power quartet for the Miami Jackson Generals, it was his backcourt mate Cecil who was the big star on a team that is considered the greatest in Florida high school history.

In 1974, he joined Mychal Thompson at the University of Minnesota and for four years, he laid the foundation for the center’s exploits with his nifty passes and court generalship. Mychal got drafted by the Portland Trail Blazers in 1978 as the top overall selection in the National Basketball Association (NBA) Draft.

For 41 years, the David Thompson/Monte Towe and the Mychal Thompson/Osborne “Goose” Lockhart comparison has stayed with me. I felt at the time, and, found out that others were of the same view, that Thompson as the No. 1 selection, had the kind of clout to ensure that his Bahamian point guard for the previous eight years, got signed to a contract in the NBA. Lockhart that year was a sixth-round selection by the Philadelphia 76ers. Three years earlier, the premier collegiate sky walker, David Thompson, was the first overall pick in the NBA Draft, selected by the Atlanta Hawks; and also, by the Virginia Squires of the old American Basketball Association (ABA). His point guard, the 5’7” Monte Towe was drafted in the fourth round by the Hawks. He ended up signing with the Denver Nuggets of the ABA, the team of David’s choice, and hung on for a couple of seasons.

Lockhart was a superior point guard and certainly could have fitted in the NBA. However, the path was not cleared for him and he joined the Globetrotters.

Lockhart played with that fabled organization for 17 years. Now, because of his distinctive contributions, through skills on the court and his “humanitarian” outreach (one of the conditions for enshrinement), Lockhart is a Bahamian elite of one, a pro basketball hall of fame inductee.

No, the Globetrotters Hall of Fame is not as glamorous or prestigious as that of the NBA, but it is a major achievement nevertheless, and yet another extremely bright spot within The Bahamas’ sports brand.

The honor could not have gone to a more deserving person. The easy-going, charismatic Lockhart has always made others comfortable and he was ever ready to provide assistance. I recall his capacity to be an excellent host on a couple of occasions when I visited he and Mychal in Minnesota to observe them in game situations.

As a basketball player, Lockhart was a backcourt genius. He brought a versatile style to the point that was a novelty in high school in Florida. As a collegiate athlete, he excelled against the best of his opposing guards.

He had the ability to play in the NBA, but that was not to be. As it turned out, the Globetrotters pathway led to hall of fame status.

Congratulations ‘Goose’!

• To respond to this column, kindly contact Fred Sturrup at e-mail address or on WhatsApp at (242) 727-6363.

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