UNITED STATES NEWS

Basketball legend Rivers, longtime Globetrotter, dies at 73

Apr 30, 2023, 7:29 AM | Updated: 12:38 pm

SAVANNAH, Ga. (AP) — Larry “Gator” Rivers, who helped integrate high school basketball in Georgia before playing for the Harlem Globetrotters and becoming a county commissioner in his native Savannah, died Saturday at age 73.

Rivers died from cancer, Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis told the Savannah Morning News. Campbell and Sons Funeral Home said Rivers died at a hospital in Savannah.

Rivers was a sophomore on the all-Black Beach High School team that won the first Georgia High School Association basketball tournament to include Black and white players in 1967. He blossomed into an all-state player, graduating from the Savannah high school in 1969 and going on to be a small college All-American at Moberly Junior College in Missouri and an all-conference guard at what is now Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph.

He went on to play and coach for 16 years with the Harlem Globetrotters, reuniting for a time with high school coach Russell Ellington.

Rivers once told WTOC-TV that during his tryout for the Globetrotters, team legend Marques Haynes led Rivers into a closet storing tables and folding chairs, handed Rivers a basketball and said “Let’s see you dribble around this.”

“So I was dribbling around chairs, under tables, doing anything I could do to impress him,” Rivers said.

Rivers came home to Savannah and got involved in the community, volunteering in schools, promoting the rebuilding of neighborhood basketball courts and opening the non-profit youth mentorship organization Gatorball Academy to teach basketball.

Rivers ran for the county commission in 2020 as a Republican and was elected without opposition after the Democratic nominee was disqualified over a previous felony conviction.

”I don’t know when we weren’t friends,” Ellis told WTOC-TV, calling Rivers “a legend.”

”That was a big part of him, giving to the children that’s behind him,” Ellis said. “Like he said, ‘Somebody gave to me, and so it’s my job and my responsibility to give back.’ And that’s going to be missing a whole lot.”

Rivers’ death brought condolences from U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, Savannah Mayor Van Johnson and others. Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp said Rivers “led a life of accomplishment and chose to spend much of that life serving the people of his community.”

Johnson wrote on social media that “Legends never die, so you will always be around, my friend,” adding in an official city statement that Rivers “never forgot Savannah or Beach High School and dedicated endless hours of mentoring and teaching the rules of basketball and life to scores of young people. For this, he will always be remembered.”

Funeral arrangements had not been announced Sunday.

United States News

FILE - President Joe Biden speaks in the East Room of the White House, Feb. 23, 2024, in Washington...

Associated Press

Regulator proposes capping credit card late fees at $8, latest in Biden campaign against ‘junk fees’

NEW YORK (AP) — The Biden administration announced a rule Tuesday to cap all credit card late fees, the latest effort in the White House push to end what it has called “junk fees” and a move that regulators say will save Americans up to $10 billion a year. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new […]

3 minutes ago

A San Francisco Police Department officer walks around Union Square, Friday, March 1, 2024, in San ...

Associated Press

San Francisco votes on measures to compel drug treatment and give police surveillance cameras

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Voters in San Francisco will weigh in on a pair of public safety measures on Tuesday’s ballot that reflect frustration over crime and drug use in the politically liberal city, including a proposal to compel treatment for adults using illegal drugs who receive cash welfare benefits. The other ballot measure would […]

4 hours ago

FILE - Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón speaks during a news conference Feb. 22,...

Associated Press

LA County’s progressive district attorney faces crowded field of 11 challengers in reelection bid

LOS ANGELES (AP) — One of the country’s most progressive prosecutors, who faced two recall attempts within four years, is set to be tested as he seeks reelection against 11 challengers to remain the district attorney of Los Angeles County. Tuesday’s nonpartisan primary pits incumbent George Gascón against opponents who range from line prosecutors in […]

4 hours ago

Associated Press

Californians to vote on measure governor says he needs to tackle homelessness crisis

SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Californians are set to vote Tuesday on a statewide ballot measure that is touted by the governor as a major step to tackle homelessness and would be the first major update to the state’s mental health system in 20 years. Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom says Proposition 1 is needed to tackle […]

4 hours ago

FILE - President Donald Trump, left, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Ky., greet each ...

Associated Press

McConnell weighs endorsing Trump. It’s a stark turnaround after the Jan. 6, 2021, attack

WASHINGTON (AP) — Senate leader Mitch McConnell is the highest-ranking Republican in Congress who has yet to endorse Donald Trump’s bid to return to the White House — having once called the defeated president “morally responsible” for the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol attack. But that’s potentially about to change. McConnell’s political team and Trump’s campaign […]

5 hours ago

Associated Press

Industrial fire and multiple explosions shoot debris into the air in Detroit suburb

CLINTON TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A fire raging at an industrial facility caused multiple explosions that rocked suburban Detroit on Monday night and sent debris shooting far into the air, prompting police to implore residents to stay inside. The debris fell as far as a mile (1.6 kilometers) away, the Clinton Township Police Department said […]

5 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Avoid a potential emergency and get your home’s heating and furnace safety checked

With the weather getting colder throughout the Valley, the best time to make sure your heating is all up to date is now. 

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Valley residents should be mindful of plumbing ahead of holidays

With Halloween in the rear-view and more holidays coming up, Day & Night recommends that Valley residents prepare accordingly.

Basketball legend Rivers, longtime Globetrotter, dies at 73