A university basketball star from Vanderbilt sadly passed away on Friday, December 1st. Perry Wallace, who also made a name for himself as a civil rights icon, died at 69 years old following his battle with cancer.
Wallace is famously known as the first African-American varsity basketball player in the SEC, reported WSMV on Friday. His accomplishments played a large role in diminishing race issues in the South at the time.
According to ABC News, Wallace first made his debut on the court in 1967, where very little students at Vanderbilt were people of color. Although he suffered some difficult times, he became one of the University’s all-time best rebounders—even to this day.
Following his college career, Wallace was drafted into the NBA, but never played. WSMV reported that Wallace was inducted into the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame in 2003 and Vanderbilt’s inaugural athletics Hall of Fame in 2008 for his various accomplishments.
The sad news about his death came only days before his 50th anniversary of the start of his college basketball career, which actually became an iconic victory in terms of fighting racial injustice.
Vanderbilt’s official basketball page posted a statement, calling Wallace a “Vanderbilt and SEC legend.”
Many others also took to social media to express their love and condolences to Perry Wallace and his loved ones.
Please keep Perry Wallace’s friends and family in your prayers today. In other recent news, suicide tragically took the life of an elementary school student.