James “Papa” Brewer — who led the Proviso East Pirates men’s varsity basketball team to its first state championship in 1969 before going on to a standout career at the University of Minnesota and, eventually, in the NBA — will be inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.
Brewer, pictured, will be joining some other notable Chicago area sports legends in the Class of 2016. They include Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis, Chicago Cub Ryne Sandburg and Chicago White Sox Carlton Fisk.
According to a biography on the Pirate Pride website, Brewer was the first hardwood star to come out of East, leading a wave of other basketball standouts that would include his nephew Doc Rivers, Donnie Boyce, Sherrell Ford, Michael Finley, Dee Brown and Shannon Brown, among others.
At Minnesota, Brewer was the teammate of Dave Winfield, who would become an MLB Hall of Famer player. He was part of the famous 1972 Olympic basketball team that lost a controversial matchup against the Soviet Union and was drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers as the second pick in the first round in 1973.
Brewer would play for nine seasons in the NBA before commencing a career overseas. After retirement, he went into coaching.
The Hall of Fame induction will take place Sept. 7, 7 p.m., at McCormick Place West Building, 2301 S. Indiana Ave., Chicago. For more information, click here.
Lady Pirates Deemed Champions
The Proviso East ladies’ varsity basketball team was honored for its accomplishments on the court during the 2015-16 season at Wednesday Journal sports writer Marty Farmer’s second annual “Night of Champions,” held June 15 in Oak Park.
Thee Lady Pirates went 27-4 overall and 12-0 in conference play, finishing the season ranked 15th in the state by MaxPreps.
The team lost a hard-fought game in the IHSA Sectional Final against Whitney Young, which stretched into overtime before finishing 82-76. VFP