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Photo of Zachary Clayton

Zachary Clayton 

Playing for teams like the Philadelphia Panthers, the Quaker City Elks, and the Chicago Crusaders, Zachary Clayton enjoyed his greatest years as a stalwart for the famed New York Renaissance and Harlem Globetrotters and the lesser-known, but still first-class, Washington Bears. Clayton was a quick guard with good size, often leading his teams in scoring and proving himself one of the greatest players of the Black Fives era. His Rens teams matched up well against the day’s established all-white basketball teams like the Original Celtics, Rochester Seagrams, and Sheboygan Redskins. In 1939, Clayton and the Rens won the inaugural World Professional Basketball Tournament and Clayton was named to the All-Tournament team. The championship capped a 122-win season for the Rens. Four years later, Clayton won a second World Pro title with the Washington Bears and was again named All-Pro. A three-sport athlete in high school, athletics remained an important feature of his life as Clayton later worked as a boxing referee for over 40 years.




April 17, 1913 Gloucester County, VA


November 20, 1997

Professional Career

Harlem Globetrotters New York Rens Washington Bears

Career Stats

1x World Pro Championship with the Harlem Rens, 1939
1x World Pro Championship with the Washington Bears, 1943
Enshrinee Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame