William P. Gates

Enshrined 1989
Decatur, AL
August 30, 1917 - December 1, 1999


In the days of cage basketball, William "Pop" Gates was considered one of the nation's finest players. Always a scoring threat, Gates was a complete ballplayer on offense, a defensive specialist, and a strong rebounder. Transitioning directly from a high school championship team at Benjamin Franklin in 1938 to a World Professional Championship with the New York Renaissance in 1939, Gates quickly claimed the title of World Tournament All-Pro, in his second season -- an honor he would later earn a total eight times. As a member of the barnstorming Rens, the team won 68 straight games en route to the World Professional Tournament championship in 1939. Gates played for a handful of teams and helped to integrate the National Basketball League in 1946 as a member of the Buffalo Bisons/Tri-Cities Blackhawks.

Career Highlights

Two-time World Professional Tournament championship with New York Rens (1939) and Washington Bears (1943)
Played under Hall of Fame coach Bob Douglas
Only player to have appeared in all ten World Professional Tournaments.
First African-American player-coach in major leagues with the 1948-49 Dayton Rens of the NBL