Have Ball Will Teach...
In the early morning hours of December 16, 2021, Mel “Trick” Davis passed away of natural causes in Vancouver, Canada at the age of 84 years old.
Mel played with the Harlem Globetrotters from 1961 until 1979. He played professionally in the ABL for the Chicago Majors before joining the Globetrotters and later with the Harlem Magicians after his retirement.
Mel was a prep standout in Chicago at Dunbar Vocational High School where he helped lead the school to a 3rd place finish in the Illinois State Boys Basketball Tournament. After high school, Mel played for the iconic coach John B. McClendon at Tennessee A&I State University (Tennessee State University” TSU”). During his playing career at TSU Mel was a member of the first HBCU team to win back-to-back NAIA national championships in 1958-1959. This historic team was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2019.
Mel served as a coach for many years at the legendary Chicago’s Schlitz Malt Liquor Pro-Am Summer League.
Mel’s community focus led him to create youth development programs including his annual Mel Davis High School Basketball All-Star Game, Mel Davis Youth Foundation, and his Have Ball Will Teach program, an after-school basketball and academic instruction initiative for young players. Many of Chicago’s greatest basketball players played in Mel’s games and camps including former NBA players Isiah Thomas, Mark Aguirre, Terry Cummings, Marcus Liberty, Sonny Parker, Bo Ellis, Darrell Walker, Glen “Doc” Rivers, and others. In 2019 Mel was inducted into the Illinois Basketball Coaches Hall of Fame.
Mel moved to Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada in 1987 where he became a basketball ambassador and innovator by bringing his hard-nosed Chicago-style basketball and skill development to youth in British Columbia. Mel traveled around Vancouver establishing his “Have Ball Will Teach” basketball and youth development clinics. He also founded the Kitsilano Youth Basketball “KYB” League. He served as a basketball consultant on the featured films “Air Bud” and “Be Like Mike. Mel coached and mentored thousands of young Canadians during his 30 years of community service. In 2011 he was inducted into the British Columbia Basketball Hall of Fame.
Mel was born to his 14-year-old mother, Pearl Marzette Davis, on July 30, 1937. The trials, tribulations, and triumphs of his life were captured in the Academy Award-nominated documentary, Hardwood, directed by his youngest son and filmmaker, Hubert M. Davis (mother Megan Carvell-Davis). His oldest son Mawuli Mel Davis (mother Mary Etta Davis)is a civil rights attorney and organizer in Atlanta, Georgia. In addition to his two sons, Mel is survived by his wife of 33 years, Megan, his stepdaughter, Melana and her son Zachary, his grandsons Kobie, Khari, Kaden, Jackson, his beloved daughters-in-law, Jana (Mawuli) and Kelly (Hubert), and a host of family.
The Davis family will be planning Memorial Services in Vancouver and Chicago held in the Summer of 2022.