Albert Seymour Dixon, Jr., 55, an educator and former Harlem Globetrotter, died Friday after four major heart surgeries at Providence Hospital in Southfield, Mich.
Mr. Dixon was born and raised in Toledo. He played as a center for the basketball team at Scott High School, graduating in 1964.
The 6-foot, 9-inch center continued playing at Bowling Green State University, where he tied former player Nate Thurmond's unbroken record of 31 rebounds in a single game. Mr. Dixon received a bachelor's degree in education from BGSU.
He was a third-round draft choice for the Kentucky Colonels in the old American Basketball Association and also was drafted by the Baltimore Bullets in the National Basketball Association.
He chose to play with the Globetrotters rather than join a professional league.
“His primary motivation was the fact that the Globetrotters influenced children. He was totally devoted to children,” his wife, Rosalind Hamner-Dixon, said.
Mr. Dixon played for the Globetrotters for about a year, and then taught in the Toledo public schools in the early 1970s.
He attended the Specs Howard School of Broadcast Arts in Southfield, where he graduated at the top of his class. He worked in broadcasting for several years, serving as a cameraman and playback specialist for television networks and the Detroit Tigers.
“He was fascinated with being behind the camera,” his wife said.
In 1991, Mr. Dixon moved to Detroit. He returned to teaching in 1993 in Detroit public schools. He taught physical education and coached swimming at Post Middle School.
“He saw a need to mentor and be a father figure for a lot of the young boys,” his wife said.
Mr. Dixon also organized basketball camps and motivational speeches for youth.
“He didn't just teach the skills of the game,” his wife said. “He taught fair play.”
He volunteered for the Special Olympics. As a participant in the “Meet the Stars” program, he ate breakfast with families to raise money for Special Olympics.
Mr. Dixon received several awards for his work in the community, including the Dynamic Young Man Award from BGSU's Fans and Boosters Association.
He was the author of “The Au Naturale Diet,” a book that encouraged people to eat properly and exercise, and was a licensed life insurance agent.
He was an active member of Third New Hope Baptist Church in Detroit, where he operated audio-visual equipment and participated in the men's ministry. He was a charter member of the Third New Hope Optimist Club.
Mr. Dixon was well-known in the community and had many friends, his wife said.
“He really affected people,” she said. “He had a great, big smile, and he just enjoyed life.”
Surviving are his wife, Rosalind Hamner-Dixon; daughter, Christine Reid; stepson, Jamal Hamner; stepdaughter, Rashanna Hamner; sister, Olivia Summers, and three grandchildren.
Wake services will be at 10 a.m. Thursday at Third New Hope Baptist Church. Funeral services will be immediately following. The body will be in O.H. Pye Funeral Home in Detroit after 3 p.m. tomorrow.
The family requests tributes to the American Heart Association.