African American Studies
Robert Minos and Andrew Chappell were former players on the famous Hilton White Basketball team; moreover, both grew up in the Forest Houses in the Bronx. The projects were seen as upward mobility, a community of hardworking families. Minor describes a sense of cohesion in these communities, which he contrasts to the modern perception and atmosphere of project housing.
Both men relate the story of the start of their basketball careers at the relative age of 11/12. Mr. Alley and Haley White were two mentors and coaches of the Hilton basketball program. Robert says this about the program, “I came from 166th Street, A.J. came from 163rd Street and our particular team was like an all star team in the Bronx because we came from various neighborhoods at Hilton.” So the program was a rather popular one in the Bronx and in other areas as well. According to Minos, the team attracted players from all over: Melrose, Patterson, Bronx River”
Hilton’s basketball program did not have sponsors. Hilton himself was a park recreation supervisor. Most of the money for tournaments, games, uniforms and other necessary expenses were acquired from the athlete’s parents. However, Hilton would chip in some of his own money to ease the burden.
Hilton ultimately encouraged the boys to attend college and pursue their athletic goals. Once at NYU, Hilton would sometimes attend games. Apparently, the boys who played on Hilton’s team during their childhood kept in touch once at the collegiate level.
Chappell, AJ and Robert Minor. June 6, 2007. Interview with the Bronx African American History Project. BAAHP Digital Archive at Fordham University.
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