African Americans typically have been an anomaly in volleyball, as volleyball is not a very diverse sport; this is mainly due to road blocks such as exposure, accessibility, and financial reasons. Despite this, there have been many phenomenal African-American athletes in the history of volleyball. In honor of Black History Month, take a look at just a few of the prominent African-American figures in U.S. volleyball, from both past and present: RITA CROCKETTKnown to be one of the best all-around players in women’s volleyball, Rita Crockett was labeled the world’s best athlete by Sports Illustrated, she was dubbed the nickname “The Rocket” due to her 42-inch vertical leap, and registered kills at 100 miles-per-hour. A member of the Volleyball Hall of Fame (2011), Crockett led the American team to its first Olympic silver medal, and had a very successful career playing both indoor, as well as beach, professional volleyball in the U.S. and abroad. Crockett’s beach volleyball career was very successful; in 1989, she became the first African-American to win a beach volleyball World Championship. In addition, Crockett was also deemed the world beach champion for the WPVA (Women’s Professional Volleyball Association) Tour.

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