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Let's See How Much You Know About These History-Making Black Athletes

Let's test your knowledge of these fierce competitors.

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  1. 1. Who's this soccer player that's known to many as the greatest of all time?

    instagram.com / Instagram: @pele
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The correct answer is Pelé!

    Born Edson Arantes do Nascimento, he led Brazil to win three World Cups, holds the record for most goals scored in career at 1,279, and was the joint winner of FIFA's player of the century award in 1999. He was also awarded the International Peace Award for his work with UNICEF.

  2. 2. Who was Althea Gibson?

    Douglas Miller / Getty Images
    First black athlete to compete at Wimbledon
    First black woman to compete in a golf pro tour
    First black athlete to win a Grand Slam
    All the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    She was all the above!

    During the 40s and early 50s, most tennis tournaments were closed to people of color. Althea Gibson was the first black tennis player to compete at the US National Championships in 1950 and Wimbledon in 1951 (both of which she went on to later win), and she became the first person of color to win a Grand Slam title. She also was the first black woman to compete on the pro golf tour.

  3. 3. Who's this famous basketball star?

    Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty Images
    Kevin Durant
    Larry Bird
    Magic Johnson
    Will Chamberlain
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The answer is Magic Johnson!

    Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Jr. is a Hall of Fame basketball player, five-time NBA Champion, 12-time NBA All-Star, and a member of the US Olympic Dream Team. He retired from the Lakers in 1991, after revealing that he had HIV, raising awareness and bringing attention to the medical condition. That same year he created the Magic Johnson Foundation to support HIV/AIDS research and awareness programs.

  4. 4. What did Dominique Dawes accomplish that had never been done before?

    Eric Feferberg / AFP / Getty Images
    First black gymnast to compete at the Olympics
    First black woman to win an Olympic medal
    First black woman to win an individual Olympic medal in gymnastics
    First black gymnast to win an Olympic medal
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Dawes was the first black female gymnast to win an individual Olympic medal.

    In 1988, she became the first black athlete to make the national women's team. She participated in the Olympic Games as part of the US women's gymnastics team in 1992, 1996, and 2000, winning a team medal each time and an individual bronze in 1996.

  5. 5. Who is this track star?

    Getty Images
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This track star is Wilma Rudolph!

    Rudolph overcame polio to become the first American woman to win three gold medals in track and field at the same Olympic games. She was inducted into the US Olympic Hall of Fame in the 1980s and in 2004, the United States Postal Service honored her by putting her on a 23-cent stamp.

  6. 6. Which of these did Bill Russell not accomplish during his athletic career?

    Kevin Reece / Getty Images
    13-time NBA Champion
    12-time NBA All-Star
    First black head coach in US professional sports
    All the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Bill Russell isn't a 13-time NBA Champion, he's an 11-time NBA Champion.

    Bill Russell is credited with the Celtics takeover during the 1960s and bringing the franchise 11 championships in his 13 seasons as a player and player-coach. He is a five-time NBA Most Valuable Player, 12-time NBA All-Star, and also the first black head coach in NBA history and in the history of professional sports in the US.

  7. 7. Who are the two Olympic medalists with their fists raised?

    Rolls Press / Popperfoto / Getty Images
    Carl Lewis and Willie Davenport
    Jesse Owen and Rafer Johnson
    Tommie Smith and John Carlos
    Kip Keino and Barney Ewell
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    The answer is Tommie Smith and John Carlos.

    The above picture was taken at the 1968 Olympics, after Smith placed first and Carlos placed third in the men's 200-meter sprint. Smith and Carlos came to the ceremony dressed in black socks and no shoes to represent black poverty, and a black glove to express black strength and unity. When the national anthem played they both bowed their heads and raised one fist.

  8. 8. Who's this fierce boxer?

    instagram.com Instagram: @muhammadali
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    His name is Muhammad Ali!

    Born Cassius Clay, Jr., he changed his name to Muhammad Ali after converting to Islam in 1964. Not only did he claim the Heavyweight Title three times, he was also an Olympic gold medalist. Ali was suspended from boxing and sentenced to prison for refusing to fight in the Vietnam War. But he appealed and his conviction was vacated. He was a devout philanthropist, earning the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2005.

  9. 9. Who is this legendary baseball player?

    MLB Photos / Stringer / Getty Images
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Jackie Robinson!

    Despite the racism and segregation that was determined to hold him back, Jackie Robinson became the first black athlete to play Major League Baseball in the 20th century. He signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, and was named Rookie of the Year that year, National League MVP in 1949, and a World Series champ in 1955. Robinson opened the door for other black baseball players, such as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron.

  10. 10. What is this amazing woman known for?

    Jeff Zelevansky / Getty Images
    First black woman to win the 200-meter sprint
    First black woman to win an Olympic gold medal
    First black woman to win the 60-meter hurdles
    First black woman to win a bronze medal
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Alice Coachman was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

    The track and field star made history at the 1948 Olympic Games, when she won the high-jump event and became the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal.

  11. 11. Who's this guy in the cool spectacles?

    (Hint: A stadium in Queens, NY is named after him.)
    Rolls Press/Popperfoto / Getty Images

    (Hint: A stadium in Queens, NY is named after him.)

    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Arthur Ashe!

    Ashe is the only black male to win the US Open, Wimbledon, and the Australian Open. He was also a passionate spokesman for the American civil rights movement and HIV awareness. He died from AIDS-related pneumonia in 1993.

  12. 12. Who's this record-setting golfer?

    Francois Nel / Getty Images
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Tiger Woods!

    Born "Eldrick Tont Woods," the pro golfer won the US Masters in 1997 at age 21, making him the youngest man and the first black man to do so. He went on to win another 14 majors and was named PGA Player of the Year 11 times.

  13. 13. John Amaechi was the first NBA player to...

    Nathaniel S. Butler / Getty Images
    Set the record for rebounds in one game.
    Coach in the NBA as a black man.
    Come out as gay.
    Create his own sneaker line.
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Amaechi was the first NBA player to openly identify himself as gay.

    In 2007, Amaechi came out as gay. He also served as a human rights ambassador for Amnesty International and established the ABC Foundation, which builds sports centers in England and fosters children’s involvement in sports and their communities.

  14. 14. Who is Toni "Tomboy" Stone?

    Transcendental Graphics / Getty Images
    First black woman to ever play professional softball
    First woman to play in the Olympics
    First black athlete to win a professional sports championship
    First woman to ever play professionally in a men's league
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Stone was the first woman to ever play professionally in a men's league.

    Toni "Tomboy" Stone made history in 1953 when she joined the Negro Major Leagues, making her the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's league.

  15. 15. Who's the legendary track star?

    ullstein bild / Getty Images
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This badass track star was Jesse Owens, who made history in the 1936 Olympic Games.

    Adolf Hitler tried to use the 1936 Olympic games to showcase his Third Reich, and prove the "superiority" of the Aryan race. Owens made a huge statement by winning four gold medals in the the long jump, 200m sprint, 100m sprint, and the 4x100m relay that summer.

  16. 16. Which of these is not one of the accomplishments of Frederick "Fritz" Pollard?

    B Bennett / Getty Images
    First black NFL coach
    First black man to win the Heisman Trophy
    First black man to play in the Rose Bowl
    First black NFL quarterback
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Fritz Pollard was not the first black man to win the Heisman Trophy.

    In 1916, Pollard became the first black athlete to play in the Rose Bowl, and later in the 1920s he became the first black quarterback and head coach in the NFL all during a time of extreme segregation and racial tension.

  17. 17. Which of these things did Joe Louis accomplish during his career?

    Keystone / Getty Images
    Winning the Detroit's Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title in 1934
    Taking the heavyweight champion title in 1937 from James "Cinderella Man" Braddock
    Knocking out Germany's Max Schmeling in 1938
    All the above
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Louis accomplished all of these throughout his career!

    Louis won Detroit's Golden Gloves light-heavyweight title in 1934 and became boxing's heavyweight champion when he defeated James J. Braddock in 1937. He also became a national hero to Americans when he knocked out Germany's Max Schmeling — who was regarded by Hitler as an example of Aryan supremacy — in 1938.

  18. 18. What's the name of this sports queen?

    instagram.com / Instagram: @serenawilliams
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Serena Williams!

    Williams won her first major Grand Slam title in 1999. Since then, she's won 23 Grand Slam titles, surpassing Steffi Graf's record and taking the world number one ranking. Along with her record-breaking individual success, she also has a series of doubles titles with her sister Venus.

  19. 19. What is Charlie Sifford known for?

    New York Post Archives / Getty Images
    First black athlete to win the PGA tour
    Five-time Negro National Open Champion
    First black athlete to play in The Masters
    First black athlete to compete on the PGA tour
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Sifford was the first black athlete to compete on the PGA tour.

    Sifford won six Negro Open championships and challenged the Professional Golf Association's whites-only rule, desegregating the organization despite harassment and death threats.

  20. 20. Who's this college football hero?

    Sporting News Archive / Getty Images
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Syracuse's Ernie Davis!

    Davis played halfback and was a two-time All-American and 1961 Heisman Trophy winner, the first black man to ever receive the award. His sophomore year, he led Syracuse University to a national championship and was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 1979. In 1962, he became the first black athlete to be picked first overall in the NFL draft, but he wasn't able to play a pro game; Davis died at age 23 of leukemia.

  21. 21. Who's this basketball-playing all-star?

    Doug Pensinger / Getty Images
    Sheryl Swoopes
    Candace Parker
    Brittney Griner
    Tamika Catchings
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    It's Sheryl Swoopes!

    Swoopes is a three-time Olympic gold medalist and the first player signed to the WNBA. She's known to some as the "female Michael Jordan." Swoopes has been named the WNBA MVP multiple times and is the first woman to have a Nike shoe named after her.

  22. 22. What is Gabby Douglas known for?

    instagram.com / Instagram: @gabbycvdouglas
    First black gymnast to win a gold medal
    First black athlete to make the US national gymnastics team
    First black gymnast to win a medal at the Olympics
    First black gymnast to win the all-around individual event
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Gabby Douglas is the first black athlete to win the all-around individual event.

    She also won gold medals for the US in the team competitions at the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympics.

  23. 23. Who's this powerhouse athlete?

    instagram.com / Instagram: @jumpman23
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    This legend is Michael Jordan.

    According to Fox Sports, The Bleacher Report, and ESPN, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time, even over players like Bill Russell and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. He led the Chicago Bulls to six NBA championships and was named the NBA MVP five times. Larry Bird even famously said, "I think it's just God disguised as Michael Jordan."

  24. 24. What is Simone Manuel known for?

    instagram.com Instagram: @swimone13
    First black swimmer to swim for the US
    First black swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal
    First black athlete to set a world record
    First black swimmer to win a medal for the US
    Correct!
    Wrong!

    Manuel is the first black swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal.

    At the 2016 Rio games, Manuel became the first black swimmer to win an individual Olympic gold medal with her record-setting performance in the 100m free, tying Canada's Penny Oleksiak. Manuel also won another gold and two silvers during that Olympics.

Let's See How Much You Know About These History-Making Black Athletes

Okay, it may be time to brush up on your history.

If you don't know the greatness of Jesse Owens, Toni "Tomboy" Stone, or Joe Louis, do you even know sports? That said, maybe you're just not a sports buff. It happens.

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Okay, okay. You definitely know some things.

You're not an expert just yet. But you definitely know a thing or two about the athletes who shaped sports into what we know today. Hopefully you learned something new by taking this!

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Damn, congrats! You really know your stuff!

Wow we're impressed. From the athletes that broke racial barriers and paved the way for equality in sports, to current athletes who are still making waves, you've got a good knowledge of your athletes.

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