Harlem’s Charlie Scott, A Rucker Park Legend, Hall Famer And More (Video)

Charles Thomas Scott, born December 15, 1948 -present, is an American former professional basketball player. He played two seasons in the now-defunct American Basketball Association (ABA) and eight seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA).

Charlie Scott grew up primarily in Harlem, New York. A 6’5″ (1.96 m) guard/forward, Scott attended Stuyvesant High School in New York City for one year before transferring to Laurinburg Institute in Laurinburg, North Carolina. He was valedictorian of his high school senior class. He was a legend at Rucker Park.

Scott played college basketball at the University of North Carolina, where he was the first black scholarship athlete. Scott averaged 22.1 points and 7.1 rebounds per game at UNC, and a career-best 27.1 points per game in his senior season. He was a two-time All-American and a three-time all-ACC selection. Scott led the Tar Heels to their second and third consecutive NCAA Final Four appearances in 1968 and 1969.

He was the first African American to join a fraternity at the University of North Carolina, St. Anthony Hall, in 1967. Scott was a gold medalist at the 1968 Summer Olympics.

Here’s a video of Charlie Scott from 1969:

Scott was drafted by the Boston Celtics in 1970 but he had already signed a contract with the Virginia Squires of the ABA. Scott was named ABA Rookie of the Year after averaging 27.1 points per game. During his second season with the Squires, he set the ABA record for highest scoring average in one season (34.6 points per game). However, he became dissatisfied with life in the ABA and joined the NBA’s Phoenix Suns in 1972. The Suns acquired Scott in a trade with the Celtics for Paul Silas. At that point, he briefly went by the name Shaheed Abdul-Aleem.

Scott continued his stellar play in the NBA, representing the Suns in three straight NBA All-Star Games (1973, 1974, and 1975), then was traded to the Boston Celtics for Paul Westphal and two draft picks. With the Celtics in the 1975-76 NBA season, Scott won a championship ring against the Suns. Scott later played for the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets. He retired in 1980 with 14,837 combined ABA/NBA career points. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2018.

While attending the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Charlie Scott married Margaret Holmes Scott and from that union they had one daughter Holly Scott Emanuel.

Scott and his current wife, Trudy, have three children—sons Shaun and Shannon and daughter Simone—and have lived primarily in Atlanta and Los Angeles. They currently live in Columbus, Ohio, where son Shannon used to play for the Ohio State Buckeyes.

After retiring from the NBA, Scott served as a marketing director for the sports apparel company Champion for several years, then as executive vice president of CTS, a telemarketing firm, before owning his own business.

Photo credit Charlie Scott via source.

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