Zack Clayton
Personal information
Born(1913-04-17)April 17, 1913
Gloucester County, Virginia, U.S.
DiedNovember 20, 1997(1997-11-20) (aged 84)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Career information
High schoolSimon Gratz
(Philadelphia, Pennsylvania)
Basketball Hall of Fame as player
College Basketball Hall of Fame
Inducted in
Baseball career
First baseman
Batted: Left
Threw: Left
Negro league baseball debut
1932, for the Philadelphia Bacharach Giants
Last appearance
1945, for the Baltimore Elite Giants

Zachary M. Clayton (April 17, 1913 – November 20, 1997) was a basketball player for the New York Rens.[1] He was also a Negro league baseball player and a professional boxing referee. He was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame in 2017.[2]

As a boy, Clayton's family moved from Virginia to Philadelphia. Clayton played at the Christian Street YMCA along with Charles "Tarzan" Cooper, Jackie Bethards and Bill Yancey. There they began four fruitful careers on a squad called the Tribune Men.[3] Clayton also played for the Harlem Globetrotters.[4] Clayton would win world championships with both teams.[4] Clayton is enshrined in the Philadelphia basketball Hall of Fame.[5] Clayton later became a boxing referee. His most famous bout was the 1974 Ali-Foreman "Rumble In The Jungle". Clayton also refereed Muhammad Ali's last fight, against Trevor Berbick in 1981.[6] Clayton was a lieutenant in the Philadelphia Fire Department for 26 years. He retired in 1979.


  1. ^ Grasso, John (15 November 2010). Historical Dictionary of Basketball. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810875067.
  2. ^ "Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame inductees".
  3. ^ Mangan, JA (2004). Ethnicity, Sport, Identity: Struggles For Status. Routledge. ISBN 0-7146-8458-9.
  4. ^ a b Jackson, Hal; Haskins, James (2003). The House that Jack Built. Amber Books. ISBN 9780972751940.
  5. ^ "New York Renaissance ('Rens') - The Black Fives Foundation".
  6. ^ "Some Harlem Rens Became Famous Boxing Officials After Basketball".