Lenny Hall
Lenny Hall
Full Name:  Leonard R. Hall
     Born:  July 10, 1943 in Camden, NJ
     Died:  March 12, 2014 in Camden, NJ
   School:  Camden High School in Camden, New Jersey
            Saint Petersburg JC in Saint Petersburg, Florida


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FSU Career
Basketball
Year  No  Pos     Hgt  Wgt  Cl  Ltr  Hometown
66-67 14  F       6-3  190  Jr   *   Camden, NJ                  


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Obituray for Lenny Hall
Published in Tallahassee Democrat on March 12, 2014
Written by Jim Henry, Democrat assistant sports editor

FSU men's basketball: Pioneer Hall passes away
Camden, N.J., native was first black player for FSU basketball

Lenny Hall played one men’s basketball game at Florida State. He played four minutes.

But those four minutes in December 1966 changed athletics at FSU and in the Deep South forever.

Hall, FSU’s first black player and believed to be among the first at a predominately white university in the Deep South, died early Wednesday morning due to respiratory failure.

The Camden, N.J., native was 70.

Sandra Hall, Lenny’s wife of 38 years, told The Tallahassee Democrat in a telephone interview from Camden, N.J., on Wednesday that her husband was proud that he helped tear down racial barriers as FSU’s first black player.

“He was not only proud of that, and he tried to encourage the kids today that they could make history also,” Sandra said.

“He always talked and encouraged children. There are quite a few young men in the city of Camden who know all about him, they love him, it has been an outpouring of accolades.”

Hall started for the Seminoles and first-year coach Hugh Durham against Valdosta State on Dec. 1, 1966.

Hall, a 6-foot-4 junior forward and transfer from St. Petersburg Junior College, scored two quick baskets and grabbed two rebounds.

Lenny Hall received an FSU letterman's jacket during
a pregame ceremony in 2007.

However, Hall tore ligaments in his left knee in the game’s opening minutes and left the game. He later re-entered the game but was unable to continue.

"I slipped on something on the floor," Hall told the Tallahassee Democrat in 2007, when he was presented a letterman’s jacket prior to the Seminoles’ game against Miami at the Civic Center.

"It was over. I didn't last another 30 seconds."

Hall underwent reconstructive knee surgery that ended his college career.

Hall returned to Camden, N.J., and joined the city’s police department in 1969.

He worked 29 years with the department, serving much of the time as a senior investigator and working with juveniles and youth gangs. He retired in 1997.

Former FSU basketball guard Terrell Baker (1997-99), who was raised in Lawnside, N.J., a 20-minute drive from Camden, said he knew of Hall, the policeman, as a youth.

Baker later learned of Hall’s connection to FSU and the significance of his career following his own playing days at FSU in the late ’90s.

“He was the kind of guy who would take you off the (street) corner and took you to your mom,” Baker said.

“There was a certain amount of respect he had. He changed a lot of peoples’ lives and did so much for the (Camden) community. When it hit me that he played at Florida State, and I started doing the research and finding out the significance, it make me follow and keep up with him. That made him part of who he was.”

Back on the FSU campus for the first time in 22 years, Hall received his letterman’s jacket in a 2007 pregame ceremony that included FSU President T.K. Wetherell, athletic director Dave Hart and Tallahassee Mayor John Marks. FSU also retired his jersey.

“I was so impressed with what the people thought of him,” Sandra Hall recalled. “It was just the love that they all had for him.”

The students chanted his name as Hall waved to the crowd and appeared to fight back tears. Hugh Durham's No. 25 jersey was honored at halftime.

"I see a lot of people that I really, really love and appreciate like Hugh Durham and some of my teammates," Hall told the Tallahassee Democrat before the game.

Hall said he was encouraged to continue his playing career at FSU when he was on the all-black Gibbs campus at St. Petersburg Junior College. He was recruited by FSU coach Bud Kennedy, who was diagnosed with cancer and was replaced by Durham, his top assistant.

Hall also said he was accepted at FSU. He wore jersey No. 14.

"I wasn't thinking about being black or anything like that," said Hall, who was recruited to FSU along with future Boston Celtics great Dave Cowens.

"But I wanted to do something for the people in that community because they did so much for me."

Before departing for the ACC Tournament on Tuesday afternoon, the FSU men’s basketball team sent Hall flowers, a jersey with his name on it, a poster with the players’ signatures, and other Seminole gear such as a hat and T-shirts.

“We tried to send him some stuff to cheer him up,” FSU coach Leonard Hamilton said. “I knew he had been sick.”

Hamilton credited Hall, Durham and FSU for helping set history.

“I think it’s very difficult for people to really understand the significance behind the fact that he was the first to break that color barrier. It says an awful lot about Florida State, the administration, Hugh Durham as the coach and Lenny Hall, as well as his family,” Hamilton said.

“I’m sure that Lenny opened the doors not only for people in the basketball world, but he represented a movement that would open up doors for many people in many other areas because of the exposure that he gave to integration during an era where that was not the most popular thing to do.”

Hall played on one of South Jersey's all-time great teams at Camden.

He was a sophomore and junior coming off the bench for the 1959 and 1960 undefeated team led by Ron "Itchy" Smith and Golden "Sonny" Sunkett. He started as a senior in 1961 and helped to extend the winning streak to 51 before losing to Farrell (Pa.).

Hall was inducted into the Al Carino South Jersey Basketball Hall of Fame in 1992.

A pituitary tumor in 2002 wiped out the vision in Hall's left eye and severely damaged his right eye.

Hall and his wife have six children.



FSU Statistics
Basketball
                                 --3 Point---                            ----REBOUNDS-----
Year  GP  GS  Min FGM  FGA  PCT  FGM FGA  PCT  FTM FTA  PCT  PTS  AVG    OFF DEF  TOT  AVG  PF DQ  AST   TO  BLK  STL
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
66-67  1   1        2    2 1.00          .000    0   0 .000    4  4.0               2  2.0   1  0                    
      ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Tot    1   1    0   2    2 .***    0   0 .000    0   0 .000    4  4.0      0   0    2  2.0   1  0    0    0    0    0
Basketball
Game Statistics
1966-67                                          3 Point                  --REBOUNDS--
Date  Opponent             GP  GS  Min FGM  FGA  FGM FGA  FTM FTA  PTS    OFF DEF  TOT  PF  AST   TO  BLK  STL
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Dec  1 VALDOSTA STATE COLL  1   f        2    2             0   0    4               2   1                    
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Totals                      1   1    0   2    2    0   0    0   0    4      0   0    2   1    0    0    0    0