This Week in Sports History
Monday (February 13th)
February 13, 1923, the first all-Black professional Basketball team was organized. The New York Renaissance or “Rens” as many called them would soon become one of the most dominant teams of the 1920s and 1930s. In 1939 before the launch of the NBA, the Rens won the World Professional Basketball Tournament. Finally in 1963 long after being dissolved, the Rens were inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.
Tuesday (February 14th)
February 14th, 1966, Wilt Chamberlain broke the NBA record for career points with 20,884. The record was previously held by Bob Petit, forward for the St. Louis Hawks. Chamberlain would eventually finish his career with 31,419 points in 1973 and would retain the record until 1984 when Kareem Abdul-Jabbar surpassed Wilt. Chamberlain still remains the 7th all-time scorer at the time of this article's writing in 2023.
Wednesday (February 15th)
February 15, 1998, NASCAR Hall of Famer Dale Earnhardt finally wins the Daytona 500 in his 20th attempt. Earnahardt came close multiple times, most notably in 1990 after blowing a tire on the last lap. This win would funnily enough be his only victory of 1998. The rest of his season was bogged with bad luck and performances not up to par with his past.
Thursday (February 16th)
February 16, 1984, Bill Johnson becomes the first American to win gold in the Olympic downhill skiing event. The event took place in the 1984 Olympics in Sarajevo. He beat Switzerland’s Peter Muller with a time of 1:45:59. At age 40 Johnson actually attempted to compete again for the US ski team for the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics. However tragedy struck as Johnson suffered a horrifying crash at the US Alpine Championships.
Friday (February 17th)
February 17th, 1943, future Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio enlists into the US Army. He was stationed in Santa Anna, Hawaii, and Atlantic City as a physical education instructor. Dimaggio eventually rose to the rank of Sergeant. He was released on medical discharge in 1945 because of chronic stomach ulcers.
Saturday (February 18th)
February 18th, 1979, the first fully broadcasted NASCAR race from start to finish on CBS. The 1979 Daytona 500 itself was a classic in its own right. Cale Yarborough and Donnie Allison collided on the final lap, leading to Richard Petty taking home the trophy. Yarborough and Allison would then proceed to fight on national television in front of millions.
Sunday (February 19th)
February 19th, 1992, a trade between the Fliers and the Penguins would take place that would change the landscape of the NHL in the 90s. The Fliers gave up captain Rick Tocchet, defender Kjell Samuelsson, goaltender Ken Wregget, plus a third round pick. In return the Penguins gave them Mark Recchi, Brian Benning, and a first round pick in the upcoming draft.