73-Year-Old Harlem Globetrotter Larry ‘Gator’ Rivers Dies

Larry “Gator” Rivers died on Saturday. He was a pioneering athlete who played for the Harlem Globetrotters and later ran for office in his home state of Georgia.

Chester Ellis, the head of the Chatham County board of Commissioners, told the Savannah Morning News that Rivers had died of cancer. He was 73. As a high school student, the 6-foot-1 Rivers made a name for himself by playing basketball for the all-Black Beach High Bulldogs of Savannah, which won the first basketball tournament for a mixed Georgia High School Association in 1967. He joined the famous Globetrotters and played on and coached the team for 16 years. In 2008, Rivers moved back to Savannah and worked as a community worker. Through his Gatorball Academy, he taught young players how to play the game. As a Republican, he was chosen to serve on the Chatham County board of Commissioners in 2020. In a statement, Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp called Rivers a “hometown basketball legend” and said, “He lived a successful life and chose to spend much of it helping the people in his community.”