‘Not in my wildest dreams’: Pearl Moore’s long journey to basketball immortality

Updated: May. 17, 2021 at 8:27 PM EDT
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FLORENCE, S.C. (WMBF) - Florence basketball legend Pearl Moore was recently announced as a member of the 2021 class of the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame.

Moore said it’s an accomplishment she never could’ve imagined.

“Not in my wildest dreams, when I started playing I never thought of any of the accolades that I’ve gotten, just playing the game because I loved it is what drove me,” Moore said.

Moore’s love for basketball began on the farm where she lived growing up.

Moore and her siblings used to find anything they could get their hands on to use as a basket and ball.

“For my brothers and sisters and I, basketball with a tennis ball and a peach basket or tire was a thing,” Moore said.

Moore would go on to play basketball at Anderson Junior College and then Francis Marion University where she scored 4,061 career points becoming the all-time leading scorer in women’s college basketball history

After college, Moore would go on to play in the Women’s Pro Basketball League and internationally.

Following her career, she held youth basketball camps and in 2018, the city of Florence named the Pearl Moore Basketball Center in her honor

She was first nominated for the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1994 and over 25 years later she finally got the long-awaited call.

“John called and said, ‘Pearl, it’s John from the Naismith Hall of Fame,’ and I said, ‘Hi John how can I help you,’ and he said, ‘I’m calling to let you know you’re a part of the 2021 Naismith class,’ and I said, ‘You’ve got to be kidding me,’” Moore said.

Being a Hall-of-Famer isn’t new to Moore. She’s already a member of the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame and several others.

Moore said while the Naismith Hall of Fame is significant, it’s still not her greatest accomplishment.

“Graduating from Francis Marion, the others fall in line behind that because I didn’t want to go to school for four years and not have a degree,” Moore said.

Moore and the other members of the 2021 Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame class will be inducted on Sept. 11.

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