August 7, 2012 in Professional
Detroit Pershing great Mel Daniels is one of professional basketball’s best kept secrets, namely because most of his pro success came in the ABA rather than the NBA. But his contributions to the game will finally be recognized this year as he’ll be inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame and Jason Remillard of the Springfield Republican recently profiled Daniels:
Before sprouting five inches at age 17, Daniels never would have seen himself as a high school athlete. Even after the growth spurt, it took some cajoling from coach Will Robinson at Pershing High in Detroit to get Daniels to even try out for the basketball team.
Daniels gave in, took up the sport and proved to be a true late bloomer. That run will culminate next month with induction into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Monday, the American Basketball Association’s all-time leading rebounder was at the shrine to speak to fans as part of the Hall’s “60 Days of Summer” series.
“He told me, ‘Every time I see you, I’m gonna beat your big blank,’” Daniels said of Robinson’s warning if he skipped the tryout. “I showed up, and the love affair started.”