Friday, June 10, 2011

Washington Generals Top Players: Ron Sobie

Ron Sobie's 1957 Basketball Card. 
Ron Sobie had the misfortune of having an NBA career that was cut too short due to an untimely injury. But Sobie also helped make basketball history and became a foil to the Globetrotters before he even played his first NBA game, much less joined the Washington Generals.

Born on September 21st of 1934, Ron Sobieszcyzk (nicknamed "Sobie") first got his taste of organised basketball in high school when he played for St. Mel High in Chicago. He eventually transferred to, and graduated from, St. Bonaventure Academy in Wisconsin.

After graduation Sobie played at DePaul University for legendary coach Ray Meyer from 1953-1956.  While attending DePaul, Sobie made history for basketball and to some extent the civil rights movement when he toured with the Globetrotters as part of the College All-Stars Team coached by Meyer, where he was named MVP of the 1956 season.

It is worth noting that while the Globetrotters won most of the games during this tour, Sobie and the All-Stars did also take home some wins. Making Sobie one of the relativity small number of basketball players who can claim taking part in defeating the Globetrotters, and one of the very few past Generals who knew that taste of victory, all be it not as a Washington General.

During his college career Sobie scored an impressive 1,222 points, making him an easy pick for the NBA. Indeed, Ron was selected in the first round of the 1956 NBA Draft. Sobie played for the New York Knicks from 1956-1959 before being transferred to the Minneapolis Lakers in the 1959-60 season.

During his time in the NBA, Sobie played in 192 games and scored 1,691 points. He also finished his career in the NBA's top ten percent in free throw percentages.

No telling what more he could have accomplished in the NBA, but unfortunately his NBA career was cut short by a knee injury during the 1959-60 season. While Sobie's injury did heal enough for him to eventually continue playing basketball, he was never able to return to NBA standards after that time.

In 1960 Sobie signed with the Washington Generals, returning to the court to once more face his old rivals from his days touring with the College All-Stars. It goes without saying that Sobie did not have as much success against the Trotters as he did during his All-Star days, but I can imagine that he elevated the level of play while on the Generals, and helped in elevating the Trotters to play their best game possible.

After leaving the Generals at the end of the tour, Sobie finished out his basketball career playing in the ABL for the Chicago Majors.

Sobie was inducted into the DePaul Athletic Hall of Fame in 1976 as part of the inaugural class, and in 2007 was inducted into the Chicagoland Sports Hall of Fame.

Sobie later opened up a restaurant called "Sobie's Bar and Grill" in Cicero, IL.

In October 23rd of 2009 Sobie passed away at age 75 due to a degenerative brain desease.

Sobie's basketball career may not have lasted as long as he would have liked, especially during his time in the NBA, but his flame burned bright while he was there. He also and made a mark with the Globetrotter organisation both before and during his time with the Generals.

Not bad for a kid for Chicago.



  1. correction - ron was drafted in the first round not the fourth

    1. I looked it up and you are correct. I don't know how I messed it up. Am fixing it now.