Friends of Basketball


Tom Cancelose

Year Inducted: 1989

Category: Friends of Basketball

Schools / Organizations: The community of Rockford
The Basketball Hall of Fame

Biography: After serving our country during the Korean War, Tom Cancelose of Rockford promoted appearances of the Harlem Globetrotters for 56 years in 18 northern Illinois cities and 5 southern Wisconsin cities.  Both the Trotters’ 20th and 40th anniversary appearances in Hinckley, where they began, were supervised by Tom Cancelose.  Already a member of the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Massachusetts; Tom remembers vividly his favorite promotion–a summer event between the Minneapolis Lakers and the Globetrotters at the Rockford Speedway before a crowd of more than 6,000.  Tom is remembered in Rockford for his work in instituting the Rockford Classic in 1963.  From 1963-67 he was instrumental in promoting, directing, and serving as business manager for the Classic.  His duties included ticket sales, ushers, and other tournament personnel but even more importantly his skills and contacts with the media people throughout Illinois helped promote the Classic.  For 50+ years, Tom provided basketball attractions to the city of Rockford and northern Illinois.  Tom Cancelose died on June 20, 2020 at the age of 89.  Over the course of his life, Tom is credited with saving 3 people by administering CPR.