Pushing Boundaries: UConn’s First NBA Player chronicles the life of Worthy Patterson, illustrating his significant achievements as a student, athlete, Army veteran, and music executive at a time when many Black people were stifled by prejudice and racism in 20th-century America. Born in Greenwich, Connecticut, in 1931, Patterson became a standout player for the UConn Huskies basketball team from 1951-54 and was the first Black player to captain any sports team in school history. He was inducted into the Huskies of Honor in 2012. To date, there have been 38 UConn basketball players who have played in the NBA, and Patterson was the first, integrating the 1957 St. Louis Hawks. Following his basketball career, Patterson found success in the recording industry as one of the first Black record executives for RCA and Warner Brothers.

This historical narrative highlights Patterson’s achievements and life, overcoming discrimination and racism before, during, and after the civil rights movement. Patterson’s resourcefulness and ability to navigate through difficult racial obstacles enabled him to reach great heights during his lifetime and blaze trails that benefited other people.

Sadly, Patterson died in 2022, shortly before the completion of the film. “Pushing Boundaries: UConn’s First NBA Player” offers insights into Patterson’s legacy and provides an appreciation for his place in Connecticut’s history.

Where to Watch

Pushing Boundaries: UConn’s First NBA Player premieres on CPTV on Thursday, April 6, 2023 at 8:30 p.m. It will re-air on CPTV Spirit on Wednesday, April 12, 2023 at 9 p.m.

It will also be available to watch on-demand on this page, on YouTube, and at video.cptv.org.