|No. 6, 17|
|Date of birth||March 31, 1923|
|Date of death||March 8, 1993 (age 69)|
|Listed height||6 ft 6 in|
|Listed weight||200 lbs|
|1950–1951||Oakland Blue n' Gold Atlas|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Don Barksdale at NBA.com|
Born in Oakland, California, Don Barksdale attended nearby Berkeley High School, where the basketball coach cut him from the team for three-straight years because he wanted no more than one black player. Barksdale honed his playing skills in park basketball and then played for two years for Marin Junior College, across San Francisco Bay, before earning a scholarship to UCLA.
In 1948 the 6'6" center became the second African American to be named consensus All-American. (George Gregory Jr. of Columbia University was named to the 1931 All-American team.) He won a gold medal at the 1948 Olympics, when he was the first African American to play on the U.S. Olympic team.
After college, he played for the Oakland Bittners, a top AAU team. In 1947 he teamed up with Jim Pollard to win, getting to the national championship game before losing to the Phillips 66ers, the perennial AAU powerhouse. In 1949 the Bittners won the AAU national championship, breaking the 66ers streak of six consecutive titles. In 1950 the team had a new sponsor, but the Oakland Blue 'n Gold Atlas still had Don Barksdale, though they ended up losing the national championship game to the Phillips 66ers. He was named AAU All American in 1948, 1949 and 1950.
In 1951, he signed a lucrative contract with the Baltimore Bullets and entered the NBA as a 28-year-old rookie. He was one of the ten highest-paid players in the league. In 1953, while with the Bullets, he became the first African American to appear in an NBA All-Star Game. Shortly afterward, he was traded to the Boston Celtics. Two years later, his playing career was cut short by ankle injuries.
Through Barksdale's basketball-playing years, he was also starting a career in radio broadcasting. In 1948, he became the first black radio disc jockey in the San Francisco Bay Area. He also worked in television and owned a beer distributorship. After his basketball career ended, he returned to radio, started his own recording label, and opened two nightclubs in Oakland. In 1983, he launched Save High School Sports Foundation, which is credited with helping to save Oakland school athletic programs from collapse. He succumbed to throat cancer when he was 69.
In 2007, FSN Bay Area broadcast Bounce: The Don Barksdale Story, a documentary produced by Doug Harris for Athletes United for Peace, a Berkeley-based youth sports and and media organization.
Barksdale was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter organization established for African Americans.
Barksdale was inducted into the UCLA Athletic Hall of Fame, the Pac-10 Basketball Hall of Honor, the Bay Area Sports Hall of Fame, and the Berkeley High Athletic Hall of Fame.