Why is Arthur Ashe a sports legend? One definition of a sports legend is an athlete that succeeds against great odds. That is what Arthur Ashe did. He overcame a racial society by becoming the first, and only African American tennis player to be ranked number one in the world. He is a legend, not just because of how well he played the game, but also how he used his status to make positive changes in both the game and in society.

     Ashe made his way to the top just after he graduated from college. He was the first African American Athlete to be named to a US Davis Cup Team in 1963: he won 3 Grand Slam singles during a 10 year playing career (1969 – 1979) These are just a few examples of his professional accomplishments. Using his high status and fame, he either began or took part in many organizations. He helped to form the Association of Tennis Professional, which helps get the money for which top players compete. And he founded the National Junior Tennis League, which is a community-based introductory youth team program that gets youth started in tennis. He also founded the Safe Passage Foundation, which consists of the ABC Tennis Program, which operates tennis centers in 4 inner cities, and the Athlete-Career Connection, which helps to improve the graduation rates of minority athletes. He participated in organizations that he empathized with, such as the United Negro College Fund, the American heart Association, and  he began AAFDA to support awareness of AIDS after he contracted the disease in 1983.

       As a tennis player, Arthur Ashe, was one of the greatest players of this time: but his legacy lies in all the good he did, and the generous contribution he made to society.

Written by 15 year old LAURA GRIFFIN who went to the US OPEN in 2000 to receive the award. Two years later she graduated 2nd in her Lee class. Part of the Readers Become Leaders program conducted by Anne Lostrangio.

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