Wayne Embry made history by becoming not only the NBA’s first Black general manager, but the first Black general manager of any of the four major U.S. sports. Embry a former NBA player was a five-time All-Star and an NBA champion.
The Springfield, Ohio native made his mark as a player at Miami University in the town of Oxford, Ohio. Selected in the NBA draft by the St. Louis Hawks in 1958, Embry was then traded to the Cincinnati Royals. In 1960, the legendary Oscar “Big O” Robertson joined the team. As both the team and Embry were bolstered by the addition of Robertson, Embry then starred in five consecutive All-Star games.
Standing at 6-foot-8 and 240 pounds, Embry was an imposing figure nicknamed “The Wall” because of his formidable frame. In 1966, Embry was talked out of retirement by his friend, Celtics player/coach Bill Russell. The move paid off for Embry, Russell and the Celtics after the squad notched the NBA championship in 1968. Embry then headed to the newly formed Milwaukee Bucks team, retiring officially in 1969.