More than 500 fans, friends and supporters attended the Al Attles Tribute Hall of Fame Celebration in Berkeley at the UC Theater on Dec. 22. The event honored Attles for his contributions to the world of basketball.
Attles joined the then-Philadelphia Warriors in 1960, becoming one of the first African-American coaches in the NBA 1969–70 season. Attles guided the Rick Barry-led Warriors to the 1975 NBA championship over the heavily favored Washington Bullets, making him only the second African-American coach to win an NBA title. Attles coached the Warriors until 1983, worked as the Warriors’ general manager and is the longest-serving coach in Warriors history.
The recipient of the John W. Bunn Lifetime Achievement Award in 2014, he was chosen as a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame, Class of 2019.
A ‘who’s who’ in the sports community was in attendance, including Golden State Warriors legend Chris Mullin, Golden State Warriors Ambassador Adonal Foyle and former NBA player Antonio Davis.
Mullin provided the welcome and musical performances included the Bay Area’s own Kev Choice and Mistah F.A.B. Guests joined Pete Escovedo and his band including his son Juan and Peter Michael.
Mistah F.A.B., Mullin, Foyle and Davis all spoke of the great influence Al Attles had on their lives and careers.
“He’s a great man and I’ve learned a lot from him,” said Foyle. “From the time I was a kid, Al Attles was an inspiration to me and so many kids,” said Mistah F.A.B.
Video tributes from a variety of celebrities also paid homage to Attles as a great man on and off the field.
Golden State Warriors star player, Steph Curry, along, with his wife, Ayesha Curry, were presented the Al Attles Community Leaders Award. The duo recently launched its non-profit Eat. Learn. Play Foundation to benefit underserved youth.
The Community Leader Award was also presented to Walter J. Haas of Coaching Corps for his commitment to using the transformative power of coaching to uplift thousands of youth. Oakland Director of Parks, Recreation and Youth Development J. Nicholas Williams was honored for his dedication to improving the quality of life of all citizens by engaging the community in preserving and expanding the department’s facilities and programs.
“Tonight is the beginning of many new things being created for the community,” said Shawn Granberry, president of HipHopTV. “If we don’t build it, who will?”
The evening paved the pathway for ACE, the Al Attles Center for Excellence to optimize the lives of underserved youth. ACE also introduced developments to be created through its new partnerships. Jason Kidd’s elementary school teacher Lori Perenon spoke of the new developments to come, including programming for the newly remodeled Willie Keyes Youth center.
Earlier in the year, Kidd along with the Oakland Park and Recreation Department teamed to remodel the center. “Funds we are raising tonight are building programming for youth to last for generations so that they have support,” said Perenon. The remodeled center had other collaborators including Jesse Jackson’s Operation Push and HipHopTV.
“It’s wonderful to be a part of ensuring the kids in the community I grew up in, West Oakland, will still have the same outlets, mentoring and programming to give them the best outcomes in life,” said Antonio Davis who once participated in activities at the Willie Keyes Youth Center as a child.
“Tonight is such an honor. I am grateful to everyone and so appreciative of the love and I wouldn’t be here today without the love and support of my family,” said Al Attles with his wife Wilhelmina Rice.
“Having such an accomplished father is a blessing and I am grateful for everyone that helped make this night so special,” said Attles son, Al Attles, III.
Other guests included Terry Ellis of En Vogue, Arif Khatib, Michelle Lewis, Lionel Bea, Dave Clark, and son David Clark.
To support the ACE visit www. GoAce.org