On Nov. 22, 1986, world-class bowler, George Branham III became the first African American to win a PBA (Professional Bowlers Association) title.

Born Nov. 21, 1962 in Detroit, Mich., Branham started bowling at the tender age of six, when his father George Branham II, an amateur league bowler, introduced him to the sport that would later bring him success.

The Branham family moved to Southern California, where he went to Sun Valley’s Polytechnic High. He flirted with the idea of becoming a star basketball player and possibly earning a scholarship. But when he only reached the height of 5 feet 10 inches, he divorced that idea and went back to his first love.

At the age of 17, the youngster bowler began to make his mark on the world of bowling, and won his first title as the Southern California Junior Bowler of the Year. He then joined the PBA a year later and went on his first tour. It was a rough road and tough beginning for the young athlete, but his success eventually caught up with him, when he defeated veteran Mark Roth to earn his first $33,260 in 1986 and the title “champion” at the Brunswick Memorial World in Chicago. During his career, Branham bowled 23 perfect (300 score) games in PBA events.

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