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Basketball legend Larry “Gator” Rivers dies at 73

Basketball legend Larry "Gator" Rivers dies at 73
Source: Youtube

Larry “Gator” Rivers, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters and integrated high school basketball in Georgia before his death on Saturday at age 73, was a native of Savannah.

Chatham County Commission Chairman Chester Ellis told the Savannah Morning News that Rivers had died of cancer. It was reported that Rivers passed away at a Savannah hospital by Campbell & Sons Funeral Home.

When the Georgia High School Association first allowed teams with both black and white players to compete in its basketball championship in 1967, Rivers was a sophomore on the winning squad. After graduating from Savannah High School in 1969, he continued his basketball career in Moberly Junior College in Missouri, where he was named to the All-American team for small colleges, and at what is now Missouri Western State University in St. Joseph, where he was named to the All-Conference team as a guard.

After high school, he reunited with his former coach, Russell Ellington, and played and coached for 16 years with the Harlem Globetrotters.

During his tryout for the Globetrotters, Rivers said team legend Marques Haynes took him into a closet where the furniture was stored, handed Rivers a basketball and said, “Let’s see you dribble around this.” This was later broadcast on WTOC-TV, according to Rivers.

Larry “Gator” Rivers cause of death

The circumstances surrounding the passing of Larry “Gator” Rivers remain unknown. The circumstances behind Larry “Gator” Rivers’s passing remain unknown. Medical journalists have been attempting to contact the victims’ loved ones for comment on the tragedy. No one has replied as of yet. As soon as we get sufficient data, we will update the page.

As reported by Georgia Governor Brian Kemp, Chatham County Commissioner Larry “Gator” Rivers reportedly died. A graduate of Alfred Ely Beach also lamented the terrible news on his Facebook page.

Larry Gator Rivers, a member of the Class of 1967, has passed away. The Bulldogs have had a terrible week, and that’s putting it mildly. When he arrived, he made Beach High a household name. This former Harlem Globetrotter is giving back to his hometown by becoming basketball commissioner and funding several clinics for local youth. This man adored Alfred Ely Beach! Thank you for your service and may you rest in peace. Rivers served as the Chatham County Commissioner representing District 2. He became famous during his tenure with the Harlem Globetrotters.

Basketball legend Larry "Gator" Rivers dies at 73

Source: Savannah morning news

Who was Larry “Gator” Rivers?

The Savannah Sports Hall of Fame has called Rivers “the finest basketball player Savannah has ever produced.” Rivers played with the Harlem Globetrotters. Rivers may not be the best Savannah basketball player of all time, but he was a part of the greatest squad and age in the city’s history.

Rivers was a supporting member on the 1967 Georgia High School Association state champion Beach Bulldogs, coached by Russell Ellington. Rivers spent 16 years with the Harlem Globetrotters as a player.

In 2020, Rivers, still living in his birthplace of Savannah, Georgia, was elected to the Board of Commissioners of Chatham County, Georgia, where he served until his death. The funeral plans for Rivers will be shared with the public.

Larry “Gator” Rivers Career

After helping integrate Georgia high school basketball in the 1960s, Chatham County Commissioner and former Harlem Globetrotter Larry “Gator” Rivers passed away early Saturday morning. He was 74.

Rivers played for the 1966–1967 Beach High Bulldogs of Savannah, Georgia, which won the first integrated GHSA basketball tournament in the highest division in 1967. The squad is more well-known for Rivers’ tenure with the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1970s and 1980s.

Beach, an all-Black team coached by Russell Ellington, won that year’s championship game with a 94-55 victory over South Fulton. Up until that point in time, the GHSA has exclusively accepted traditionally White institutions as members.

Read Also: Pirates legend Dick Groat dead at 92

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