Valerie Still


3-time All-American; All-time leader at Kentucky in points & Rebounds

Considering that basketball standout Valerie Still, who was born and raised on the South Jersey side of the Delaware River in Camden, has lived a life of destiny, it should be no surprise that her journey has led her to the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Class of 2023. Her five older brothers became star athletes and high school state champions at Camden High. They all earned athletic scholarships. James (the oldest) received a basketball scholarship to Maryland, coached by Hall of Famers Lefty Driesell and assistant George Raveling. Art had a Hall of Fame football career at Kentucky and played defensive end in the NFL, drafted as the second overall pick by the Kansas City Chiefs. Recalling how she was drawn to basketball, Still noted that “across the street from my project’s housing was a play area that included a small basketball court from which drew my love for the sport. “Even though I was a girl, I loved hanging out with my brothers playing sports to get out of doing housework inside.” They were at first reluctant to include her. “But eventually I got good enough that they would let me drive around with them finding playgrounds across South Jersey to play,” she remembered. Still made the varsity basketball team at Camden as a freshman, but her mother nixed her participation. She got her first taste of organized basketball one year later, as a sophomore. Still wanted to major in veterinary medicine in college. Penn would have been fine except that the Ivy League schools don’t offer athletic scholarships, which made Penn cost prohibitive. Philly Sports Hall of Famer Theresa Grentz, then coaching nationally ranked Rutgers, wanted her badly. “Everyone knew I would go to Kentucky because of Art,” Still explained. “When UK offered the scholarship, it was a no-brainer.” With Title IX enacted in 1972, Still was one of the first female Kentucky Wildcat athletes to receive a full athletic scholarship in 1979. She certainly made good on the investment: Still led the Wildcats to national rankings, became a three-time all-American, and to this day holds Kentucky’s combined men’s and women’s records in scoring (2,763 points) and rebounding (1,525). She averaged a career double-double and her college jersey has been retired. She became a pro star and was named an all-star nine times in Italy. In the brief existence of the American Basketball League (ABL) in 1997-’98, Still was the championship series MVP with the Columbus (OH) Quest. After the ABL folded, Still played for the WNBA Washington Mystics, and later became an assistant coach with the Mystics and Orlando Miracle. She also played on several USA Basketball national teams. Still was the only female member of the Kentucky Athletic Hall of Fame inaugural class. She was also inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame, was recently nominated to the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame, and will soon be inducted into the University of Kentucky Hall of Distinguished Alumni. Still’s life off the court as a philanthropist and author is even more prolific. A winner of the Jefferson Award, which honors public service, she is Founder and CEO of STILL Java, a socially conscious specialty coffee company that partners with non-profit organizations. In 1988, she founded the Valerie Still Foundation, a non-profit organization that assists youth in their development, particularly helping young girls grow into mature women. She is also President of the Clarence B. Jones Institute for social advocacy. Still’s great great grand uncle was William Still, a/k/a “The Father of the Underground Railroad,” a great Philadelphian and abolitionist who worked with the Pennsylvania Anti-Slavery Society and whose eldest daughter Caroline was one of the nation’s first female physicians. Her godfather was Charles L. Blockson, known for housing the Blockson Afro-American Collection at Temple University. Her son Aaron is a naval officer and a 2019 graduate of the US Naval Academy. Still did TV commentary for both men’s and women’s basketball and was a cast member of the reality program Mom’s Got Game, which aired on the Oprah Winfrey Network in 2014. Still authored the two-volume Still Alive on the Underground Railroad: Recollections of an American Family, a youth series based on her family history, and has also written a memoir, Playing Black and Blue: Still I Rise. She is currently working on a biography of her uncle William. Valerie Still earned her undergraduate degree in animal science/pre-veterinary and her Master’s in African and African American studies from Ohio State. She is completing her doctorate dissertation for a PhD in Sports Humanities. By Mel Greenberg - Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame Inductee

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Charter Class (2004)

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