La Salle University has produced a number of outstanding basketball players over the years. Jackie Moore is a big part of the Explorers’ basketball tradition. He will be inducted into the La Salle University Hall of Athletes. He will be recognized at halftime of the La Salle basketball game against Duquesne at Tom Gola Arena on Feb. 1.
Moore helped La Salle win the NIT championship in 1952. He averaged 9.2 points and 12.6 rebounds a game. The following season, he averaged 11. 3 points and 11.6 rebounds to lead the Explorers back to the NIT. His 12.1 rebounds a game is second in program history behind Gola. La Salle posted a 50-10 record during his two seasons.
“It’s an honor,” Moore said. “I’m already in with the [championship] team. Now, I’m going in as a player. I thought about my playing days there for a while. The NIT was the big tournament. That was the tournament to get into at that time. We were the last team chosen. It was a great feeling, winning the championship. We beat Dayton, and they had a really good team. Tom Gola was a great player. Our talents kind of meshed together. Our coach was Ken Loeffler.”
Moore certainly deserves all the recognition. When it comes to basketball, he has a very special place in history. He was the first African-American men’s basketball player at La Salle. During the 1950s very few Blacks played for the city colleges.
”I’ve been told that I’m a trailblazer,” said Moore, who lives in Charlotte, N.C. “They say I started Black basketball in Philadelphia. There were a lot of good basketball players who played with me and came after me. Sam Sylvester was playing at Temple when I was at La Salle. He played at Southern. He was from South Philly.”
Moore, a 6-foot-5 forward, was a big star at Overbrook High School. He guided the Panthers to three straight Public League championships (1948-50). He tallied 25 points in a league playoff game, which at that time was the most for a playoff game. His performance helped Overbrook defeat Frankford 47-44 to win the league title.
He grew up in West Philadelphia. He played at Haddington Recreation Center (now Shepard Recreation Center) at 57th and Haverford Avenue. That’s where former Overbrook High stars Wilt Chamberlain, Walt Hazzard, Wali Jones, Wayne Hightower and others played for many years. They all came after him. He built the foundation for a lot of players.
Moore was a magnificent player before he matriculated at La Salle. After his college career, he went on to play three seasons with the Philadelphia Warriors. He played on the 1955-56 NBA championship team that included Paul Arizin, Ernie Beck and Gola.
“I’m looking forward to coming up,” he said. “It should be a nice ceremony. I still try to follow La Salle as much I can in the newspapers. I know they had a great year last season. They went to the Sweet 16. It was one of the best seasons they’ve had in a long time.”
Moore had some great years at LaSalle, too.