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Sonny Hill

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SPORTS
October 12, 2001 | By Kevin Tatum INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Before the Philadelphia Commission on Human Relations bestowed its highest honor on basketball man-about-town Sonny Hill yesterday, Hall of Fame coach John Chaney had this to say about his old friend: "Sonny Hill is a statement with an exclamation mark!" Hill, who received the Clarence Farmer Service Award in recognition of his efforts to promote inter-group harmony and curb youth violence through his various sports and community endeavors, certainly has never been a question mark in the city of Philadelphia.
SPORTS
March 20, 2003 | By Todd Zolecki INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sonny Hill is in. The Philadelphia School Reform Commission voted unanimously yesterday to hire Hill, the local basketball impresario, to help with Philadelphia's transition into the PIAA, the governing body for most of the state's high school athletic programs, as well as develop student- and community-enrichment programs for district athletes. A district representative said yesterday the focus of Hill's duties will be raising funds and finding sponsorships and corporate partnerships.
SPORTS
March 14, 2003 | By Todd Zolecki INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The School District of Philadelphia expects Sonny Hill to make its transition into the PIAA a better one. Many Public League coaches and athletic directors aren't so sure. The Philadelphia School Reform Commission on Wednesday announced plans to hire Hill, the local basketball impresario, to help with its transition into the PIAA, the governing body for most of the state's high school athletic programs, and develop student and community enrichment programs for district athletes.
NEWS
September 2, 1997 | by Scott Heimer, Daily News Staff Writer
All that heat and humidity yesterday didn't seem to bother Kevin Crawford as he had the temporary-tattoos woman spray-paint the top of his head bright orange. "Why not? It's a fun thing to do," said Crawford, of Overbrook, who'd just had the Day-Glo-orange treatment given to his son, Joseph, 4, too. Crawford wasn't alone in having fun at the 5th annual YO! Philadelphia Festival. The heat, humidity and only occasional faint breeze off the Delaware River didn't deter crowds at the two-day event that appeared to equal organizers' hopes for a 30,000 turnout - the same as last year.
NEWS
May 12, 1992 | by Anthony S. Twyman, Daily News Staff Writer
The architect for some of the city's most successful basketball leagues has teamed up with the Philadelphia Housing Authority to help 450 public housing children slam dunk away the summertime blues. Sonny Hill, founder of the Charles Baker summer pro league and various youth leagues has helped establish the Sonny Hill Community Involvement Basketball League, which opened last night at the Martin Luther King Recreation Center, 22nd Street and Cecil B. Moore Avenue. Girls and boys, ages 8 to 18, who live at the Norman Blumberg, Raymond Rosen and James Weldon Johnson developments are eligible to participate in the pilot program.
SPORTS
July 12, 1987 | By M. G. Missanelli, Inquirer Staff Writer
As he maneuvers his long, gray Buick through the narrow streets of North Philadelphia, it is obvious that this section of the city is Sonny Hill's dominion. People wave and yell his name. He is recognized by older women, young kids, briefcase-carrying professionals. Even a driver stopped at a red light notices the immaculately dressed man in the car behind him. The driver sticks his head out the window. "Hey, Sonny Hill," he says. Hill turns to his passenger. "I don't know who that is," Hill says.
SPORTS
August 4, 1987 | By M. G. Missanelli, Inquirer Staff Writer
Play in the Charles Baker Adult League, Philadelphia's summer league for professional basketball players, has been suspended indefinitely, perhaps for good, organizer Sonny Hill announced last night. Hill, citing the current contractual problems between Gene Banks and the Chicago Bulls as the reason for the action, made the announcement before the start of a scheduled league game at Temple's McGonigle Hall. Hill also said that he was considering instituting legal action against the Bulls and the NBA, and that his attorney, Michael Richman, had sent a letter to Jerry Krause, the Bulls' chief of basketball operations, and the office of NBA commissioner David Stern informing them of a possible suit.
SPORTS
July 15, 1995 | By Stephen A. Smith, INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
The smile will begin to form on Sonny Hill's face around 2 p.m. tomorrow, when the game begins. Inside Temple's McGonigle Hall, a decent crowd filled with Sonny Hill's friends - old and new - will be on hand. College players will be ready to strut their stuff. And, most important, a few former local stars will be present for the Budweiser/Eddie Gottlieb Memorial Classic, the Baker League's 36th annual all-star game. "That's the most important thing - the players returning," said Hill, who founded the league in 1960.
NEWS
December 26, 1996 | The Philadelphia Inquirer / JOHN COSTELLO
Althea Gibson (left) tends the serving trays as Tonya Davis (right) gives Rasheed Ruley, 4, a lift so he can see what's cooking at the Sonny Hill/Christian Love Worship Center in Philadelphia. The center dished up enough breakfast fixings yesterday to feed 300 people.
NEWS
November 24, 1993 | Inquirer photographs by Elizabeth Malby
Pupils at the Palumbo Elementary School in South Philadelphia got a lesson in fitness yesterday when local celebrities ran them through a student- designed obstacle course. Scheduled guests included Pat Croce, Sonny Hill and the city's recreation commissioner, Michael DiBerardinis.
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SPORTS
January 31, 2014 | BY ANDREW ALBERT, Daily News Staff Writer alberta@phillynews.com
LA SALLE University's Brother Joe Grabenstein used one word to describe Tom Gola during his eulogy yesterday morning. Genuine. Hundreds of people packed into St. Albert the Great Catholic Church to say goodbye to Gola one final time. Gola's family, plus friends, fans and Philadelphia basketball legends, were at the Huntingdon Valley church to remember Gola as an outstanding man. Gola died Sunday afternoon at age 81. He is still the NCAA's all-time leading rebounder, and is one of only two men to win an NIT, NCAA and NBA championship.
SPORTS
January 28, 2014 | By Dick Jerardi, Daily News Staff Writer
TOM GOLA was, without any argument, the most accomplished college basketball player in city history. La Salle won the NIT when he was a freshman in 1952, the NCAA when he was a junior in 1954 and finished runner-up to Bill Russell's great San Francisco team when he was a senior. His death yesterday at 81 serves as a reminder of what he was on the court. It also conjures a nostalgic time from the 1950s when a sporting hero from 3rd and Lindley and Incarnation Grade School never lost sight of his roots and treated every kid who idolized him like he was one of his own. Gola was not years ahead of his time as a player.
SPORTS
January 10, 2014 | By John Smallwood, Daily News Columnist
ON THIS particular day, it hadn't happened yet, but then, Sonny Hill was out of his Philadelphia stomping grounds, sitting for a brunch conversation at the Hotel Du Pont in Wilmington. Still, the day was young, and soon Hill would be out and about doing things in the community as he's done for nearly his entire life. He was sure it would happen, because it has happened just about every day for more than a half-century. "I know that I'm going to be going somewhere and somebody is going to walk up to me and say, 'Mr. Sonny, I played in your league.' 'Mr. Sonny, I went to your basketball camp.' 'Mr. Sonny, you spoke at my school and I want you to know that you have made a difference in my life,' " said Hill, 77, who was born and raised in Philadelphia, but is known throughout the nation for his work as a community activist and pioneering sports commentator.
NEWS
February 1, 2012 | BY JOHN F. MORRISON, morrisj@phillynews.com 215-854-5573
CECIL HIGHTOWER was practically a runt on the basketball courts. He was a mere 5 foot 10 in a sport dominated by giants. But Cecil had one advantage. He could jump phenomenally high, a talent that let him hold his own on the local basketball courts with the likes of Wilt Chamberlain and other Philly stars. In fact, while at West Philadelphia High School, Cecil set a school record in the high jump in 1960, clearing the bar at 6 feet 4. Charles Cecil Hightower Sr., a warehouseman for local companies, a coach who liked to impart his knowledge of sports to the young and a talented artist, died Dec. 24 at the age of 69. He was born in Philadelphia to Lovie Lee Beatrice Thomas and Charlies Claude Hightower.
SPORTS
May 26, 2011
PHILADELPHIA IS NOT an NBA town. If I've heard it once, I've heard it a million times. The Sixers' annual struggle with attendance is about the product more than the people, I am repeatedly told, and that includes the now trite use of pyrotechnics and general loudness that attack the senses far more than anything that happens once the ball is jumped. Philadelphia is a basketball town, I am told. Big 5, Palestra, Catholic League, Sonny Hill on Sunday mornings talking about back in the day. Philadelphia is about playing the game right, about team defense and selflessness and giving up the ball.
SPORTS
May 20, 2010 | By PHIL JASNER, jasnerp@phillynews.com
In the early years, John Hardnett would train aspiring pro basketball players in the cramped, musty gym at Gustine Lake. "Guys would come in from schools that had big-time practice facilities, look at that place and say, ' This is where you brought us?' " Joel Bell fondly remembered yesterday, a day after the sudden death of Hardnett, 56. "After a day or 2, they loved it. They'd leave saying they'd be back next summer, too. " Bell, a player agent, was a Public Leaguer who grew up playing in Sonny Hill's various youth leagues.
SPORTS
April 8, 2008 | By Joe Juliano INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Sonny Hill has been named a finalist for the Mannie Jackson Basketball Human Spirit Award presented by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame. The 67-year-old Hill, an executive adviser for the 76ers, established community basketball programs that have helped thousands of youths and young men in Philadelphia and the surrounding area. The two finalists joining Hill are former NBA players Alonzo Mourning and David Robinson. The award, named for a Hall of Fame board member, honors individuals "who have incorporated basketball into their efforts to contribute to the greater good of society.
NEWS
August 8, 2006 | By Inquirer photographer April Saul
With staccato regularity, guns are killing children. Epidemic. Public health crisis. Tragedy. By whatever name, these deaths bring profound loss to families and communities. This series attempts to capture the look, the sound, and the feel of this loss. Six-year-old Jasir Lightfoot's nightmare makes perfect, sickening sense. On July 27, his cousin Terrence "Terre" Adams walked to a store in East Germantown and never came back. The Parkway High senior was killed at a playground, say police, by a bullet that may have been meant for someone else.
SPORTS
April 21, 2004 | By Shannon Ryan INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
When nobody from the Sonny Hill Seniors club basketball team stood from white plastic folding chairs to receive the biggest trophy of the night, Jason Hickenbottom rose and accepted it. While his teammate Mark Tyndale - a teammate both at Simon Gratz High and in the Sonny Hill League - earned the most valuable player trophy in the Albert C. D'Onofrio Classic last night, Hickenbottom played with the type of talent and gusto that was worthy of...
NEWS
October 31, 2003 | By Vernon Clark INQUIRER STAFF WRITER
Celebrating nearly 90 years of friendship, sports and service to the city's black community, the Christian Street YMCA paid tribute to three Philadelphians who long ago honed skills there that have served them throughout their lives. Temple University men's basketball coach John Chaney, community activist Frank "Tick" Coleman, and former Philadelphia school board member Robert L. Poindexter were honored for their service to the Philadelphia community. "Coming here brings back old-time memories," Chaney, a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame, said during the event Wednesday night.
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