Family and friends were disappointed to learn that local basketball icon Louis "Red" Klotz was not voted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame's class of 2016 on Monday.

Klotz, a longtime Margate resident, died in July 2014 at 93.

Best known as the owner, player and coach for the Harlem Globetrotters' longtime rival, the Washington Generals, Klotz spent most of his life playing and promoting the sport of basketball around the world.

"At least he was nominated this year," said Tim Kelly, who first met Klotz in 2000 and released his biography in 2013. "It was the first time that's ever happened. They're aware of him, and I think they've always been aware of him and that's important.

"We just need to keep on trying to get his name out there and make people aware of him, and maybe he'll get in next year."

The Hall's class of 2016 consisted of Allen Iverson, Shaquille O'Neal, Yao Ming, Sheryl Swoopes, Tom Izzo and Jerry Reinsdorf.

Klotz was nominated for the first time Dec. 11 in the Hall of Fame's Contributors category, among other distinguished former players, coaches, executives, owners and TV announcers who have benefited basketball.

Ronee Groff, Klotz's eldest daughter of six children, stressed the influence that her dad had on basketball as well as his family.

"Our dad is our supernova," she said. "I'm hard-pressed to say anything about the Hall other than it was a good opportunity to put in somebody who truly represented what it means to be a contributor to the sport. But at the same time, you have to congratulate the winners. That was my dad's way. His way was to always be gracious and excited for the winners."

Before forming the Generals, Klotz excelled as a player for Villanova University, the American Basketball League's SPHAS (South Philadelphia Hebrew Athletic Society) and the NBA's Baltimore Bullets, where he earned a title in 1947-48.

"I do think they missed out on a golden opportunity," Kelly said. "It would've been great to make it in on a night his alma mater (Villanova) is playing for the (NCAA) championship. I know that he would've been thrilled not just about the Hall of Fame, but also that his Villanova Wildcats were going for the championship."

Despite the disappointment that her father was not elected, Groff focused on the positives.

"It's an honor in itself to even be nominated," she said. "He's worthy of that honor. It's unbelievable the contributions he's made to the sport over his whole lifetime. From the time he was 3 and held a basketball in his hands for the first time, his love and passion was for basketball."

Contact: 609-272-7210

CCapoferri@pressofac.com

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