More than a Game

Black Innovators in Sports

Since ancient times, cultures across the world have delighted in the creativity and skill of games. Black Americans continue to be visionaries and creators in this arena including groundbreaking inventions in traditional sports and exemplary leadership on and off the field of play. In today’s emerging field of computer gaming, young people like you are tackling underrepresentation onscreen as game characters and behind the screen as game programmers and software designers. What will you think of next? Game on!

John Thompson, III
John Thompson, III

Born 1966 

Coaching winning basketball teams is the family business for John Thompson, III. Namesake of his coaching legend father, John Thompson, III has won conference championships at his alma mater Princeton University and at Georgetown University. Under his leadership, the 2007 Georgetown men’s basketball team made it to the Final Four. Mr. Thompson is now Monumental Basketball’s Vice President of Player Development and Engagement. 

Born 1955

Doug Williams made history in 1988, as the first Black quarterback to start and win the big game. Playing for the now-Washington Football Team, Williams would be named Super Bowl XXII’s Most Valuable Player. Still calling winning plays, he is currently Senior Advisor to Team President, Jason Wright, for the Washington Football Team.

Doug Williams
Sheila Johnson
Sheila Johnson

Born 1949

Calling shots on the game floor and in the board room, media and sports pioneer Sheila Crump Johnson is the founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels and Resorts. It is ranked as one of the largest Minority-Owned Women-Owned Companies in the Washington D.C. Metro area. Johnson is the only African American woman to be a principal shareholder in three professional sports teams: the Washington Wizards, Capitals and Mystics. Johnson co-founded Black Entertainment Television (BET), the first Blackowned corporation registered on the New York Stock Exchange.


Though many followed, the patent for the first golf tee was issued to Dr. George Grant, a noted New England dentist and the first African American faculty member of Harvard University’s School of Dental Medicine. An avid golfer, Dr. Grant grew tired of the then-custom of using one’s hands to mold wet sand into a mound on which to place the golf ball. His invention revolutionized the game of golf as we know it.

Dr. George Franklin Grant