On February 6, 1993, the world of tennis lost a legend. At age 49, Arthur Ashe succumbed to the disease he quietly fought for 5 years and died of complications from AIDS. Hailed from Richmond, Virginia, the lanky, bespectacled Ashe experienced racism first hand when he couldn’t play against white players because of segregation. However, his skills and talents were obvious. He was elected to join the 1963 U.S. Davis Cup Team, the first African-American to do so. 2 years later, he won the NCAA Singles Championship. And in 1968, Ashe won the very first U.S.Open. All before he turned professional. He would go ahead to claimed champion’s trophy at the Australian Open and the coveted Wimbledon before retiring in 1980 because of heart problems. Ashe remain the only African-American to win the U.S. Open, Australian Open and Wimbledon.
Because of his experience with racial prejudice, Ashe became a vocal advocate of equality and social justice. A responsibility he dutifully accomplished after his retirement from professional tennis. He was repeatedly arrested for protesting against South Africa’s then apartheid policy, He ever protested against the treatment of Haitian refugees, just a few months before his death,
In honor of Arthur Ashe and his countless accomplishments he achieved during his lifetime. Hip-Hop mogul Jay-Z created a special graphic t-shirt, imprinted with Ashe’s silhouette in his signature serving stance. All proceeds will benefit 2 organizations established by Ashe himself, USTA National Junior Tennis & Learning and Arthur Ashe Endowment for the Defeat of AIDS. A licensed US Open merchandise, the t-shirt will be available for a limited time only at US Open, the tournament’s official online store, and ArthurAshe.org.