In 1973, Ron Thomas’ sportswriting career took root covering high school sports and professional indoor lacrosse in Rochester, N.Y. He blossomed reporting on Big 10 basketball and football for the Chicago Daily News, and matured covering the Final Four, World Series, NBA Finals and Super Bowls for San Francisco newspapers. Being USA Today’s first NBA reporter/editor from 1982-84 was another distinguishing mark.

Throughout, the racial dimensions of sports, the seeds of athletes’ success, obscure sports history, and the lack of black sports reporters have been his specialties. Here’s a selection of his works that reflect that: