Sonny Hill Much More than a Member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame

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While I was looking over my post on apple cider vinegar today, I couldn’t help but think about a man who has impacted so many people from the city of Philadelphia.  I remember him speaking it about apple cider vinegar many times.  I also remember him stopping a game when a girl cursed at the official and he told her to leave.  He would come to the games and watch.  He was there and knew what was happening.  I played on the South Philadelphia team because NJ didn’t have a team in this league and it was recommended to help improve my game.  We practiced with the boys most of the time and they were coached by a couple of very tall and disciplined POs in the city, T and Claude.  A teammate and I got rides over to practice with a man whose son played for the boys team who was also from our area.  My dad would come to the games and take my friend and I to our next game back in NJ for our high school.  That was how my summer went most days in high school and I loved it.

Sonny Hill

William Randolph “Sonny” Hill (born July 22, 1936) is a former basketball player and announcer. He is a member of the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame, and current sports radio personality in Philadelphia Pennsylvania. He also serves as an executive advisor for the Philadelphia 76ers. He is known as Mr. Basketball in Philadelphia for founding the eponymous Sonny Hill League and for his many contributions to the game.


He is referred to as “The Mayor of Basketball” in Philadelphia.

Sonny’s influence goes beyond the basketball court.

He is known for his roles as a 76ers executive, radio host, broadcaster, counselor and mentor to thousands of young men.

He has been acknowledged for his ability to reach kids through the game of basketball to become better people.

He co-founded the Charles Baker Memorial Summer League (1960).

His Baker League would become the top off season showcase of pro basketball talent.

He has been recognized as the oldest and most prestigious professional summer league in the country.

He developed the Sonny Hill Community Summer League as an amateur adjunct for college, high school, and pre-high school players (1968).

The league presents an alternative to the challenges of the street and provides participants with discipline, guidance, and direction.

It offers students tutoring and career counseling programs in addition to basketball.

It’s been said that the Sonny Hill League has done more to battle the perils of gangs and drugs and promote life skills than any other program in the city.


He has been honored with over 25 civic awards including numerous “Man of the Year” designations.

He was an NBA Commentator for CBS Sports (1974-78).

 He continues to host a weekly talk show on sports radio 610 WIP-AM.

He was named one of the 100 most influential minorities in sports by Sports Illustrated (2004).

He was a finalist for the Mannie Jackson Basketball Human Spirit Award presented by the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame (2008). It honors individuals “who have incorporated basketball into their efforts to contribute to the greater good of society”.

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