Tommy Curtis, 1st Black basketball player at Leon High has died

Posted at 1:08 PM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 13:08:34-04

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — Tommy Curtis, the first Black player to play basketball at Leon High died. He was 69.

Curtis went on to play at UCLA, leading them to a national title in 1972 over Florida State.

David Thompson, Tommy Curtis, Keith Wilkes
David Thompson (44) of North Carolina State, has his arms hooked by UCLA's Tommy Curtis, right, while driving in for a shot at the basket during semi-final play at the NCAA championship in Greensboro, N.C., March 23, 1974. UCLA's Keith Wilkes has his arms up in back of Thompson. North Carolina State won 80-77 in double overtime and will play Marquette in the Monday night finals. (AP Photo)

Curtis was one of the first 50 black students to attend Leon High School. While there, he won two state championships and was selected as the state’s basketball player of the year in 1969.

UCLA Basketball Team 1972
The UCLA basketball team is seen in 1972, standing, from left to right: Tommy Curtis, Greg Lee, Larry Hollyfield, Jon Chapman, Keith Wilkes, Bill Walton, Swen Nater, Vince Carson, Larry Farmer, Gary Franklin, Andy Hill, and Henry Bibby. The coaches seated in front of them are unidentified. (AP Photo)

Born in Tampa, Curtis' mother was a social activist and a co-founder of the Florida chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), and his father served for Central Life insurance company.

A service will be held for Curtis in the Leon High School gym on Aug. 14. Further details have not been confirmed.

The cause of death has not been released.