John Kline | Black Legends | Youth Athletic Enrichment Program
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John L. Kline, PhD

Film Treatments

Dr. Kline is in the process of developing two movies, Barnstormin’ and Never Lose. The following film treatments describe the movies in brief detail.

Set primarily in the decades of the Harlem Renaissance and the great Depression, BARNSTORMIN' is a drama about the black pioneers that helped break the bonds of segregation and bring basketball to the nation and the world.

NEVER LOSE is the remarkable story of John Kline who came up from the streets of Detroit to become an All American, traveling the world as a Harlem Globetrotter before drug addiction shattered his life and family. Out of the pits of hell he struggled to find his identity as an African American man earning a PhD and dedicating his life to helping young people.

For more information on BARNSTORMIN' CLICK HERE and for NEVER LOSE! CLICK HERE.


Pound for pound, at only 6-feet, 3-inches tall, "Jumpin' Johnny" Kline was considered the best power forward in basketball from 1950-1960. Despite his size, he led his Wayne State University and Harlem Globetrotter teams in scoring, rebounding, assists and steals while defending much taller players on opposing teams. He regularly out-rebounded All-American college players such as 6-foot, 7-inch Dick Rickets of Duquesne University; 6-foot, 7-inch Maurice Stokes of St. Frances College in Pennsylvania; 7-foot, 1-inch Walt Dukes of Seton Hall University and the Detroit Pistons; 7-foot, 1-inch Wilt Chamberlain of the University of Kansas, the Harlem Globetrotters, and Philadelphia Warriors; 6-foot, 11-inch Ray Felix of Long Island University and the Baltimore Bullets; 7-foot Bill Spivey of the University of Kentucky, the Harlem Globetrotters, and the Boston Whirlwinds; 6-foot, 10-inch Lee Garner of Alcorn College in Mississippi; and 6-foot, 7-inch Nat "Sweetwater" Clifton of the Harlem Globetrotters and the Detroit Pistons.

After his basketball career ended, Dr. Kline overcame drug addiction to become one of the nation's leading educators, authors, historians, and community leaders. He has worked diligently to inspire young athletes to greatness; help individuals live healthier lives; and bring recognition to the African Americans who helped pioneer one of America's favorite pastimes.

Following are highlights of the basketball legend's 60-year career.

1950-51 While playing basketball for Wayne State University in Detroit, the young "Jumpin' Johnny" Kline breaks a number of school records, including the indoor high jump (6 feet, 6-1/2 inches) and the outdoor high jump (6 feet, 7 inches).
1952 "Jumpin' Johnny" becomes the nation's premiere college basketball forward. Our Sports Magazine names him an All-American, and he garners "Most Valuable Player" and "Athlete of the Year" honors from Wayne State University. He also is named the "Most Valuable Player" by the organizers of the first University of Detroit Motor City Tournament. He breaks the hop, step and jump record for WSU, an achievement that still stands today.
1952-53 He breaks seven high jump records at various college tournaments.
1953-59 He drops out of Wayne State University to begin a seven-year stint as a basketball forward for the Harlem Globetrotters. "Jumpin' Johnny" credits Gus Finney for paving the way to the career-changing opportunity.
1959-60 The player moves to Harlem in New York City and plays with the Sunbury Mercurys, an Eastern Professional League team based in nearby Pennsylvania.
1960-69 "Jumpin' Johnny" nearly loses his life while struggling with heroine and cocaine addiction. He enters the Lafayette Clinic in Detroit for rehabilitation.
1970 He assumes his first job in 10 years as a drug abuse research assistant for the Lafayette Clinic in Detroit. The facility acknowledges his travel experience and familiarity with the city's street life.
1971 He is named Deputy Director of the Methadone Program overseen by the Mayor's Committee on Human Resources Development in Detroit.
1972 He is named Director of Student Affairs for Detroit's Electronic Institute.
1973 He joins the Michigan Mental Health Department as the Patient Rights Administrator. The former player returns to Wayne State University to earn a bachelor's degree in science. He leads a group to Ghana in West Africa for a series of educational and cultural exchanges.
1975 He returns to the Lafayette Clinic, serving in various roles. He remains with the facility until 1986.
1976 He establishes Karibu Associates, a Detroit-based counseling service.
1977 He receives a master's degree in education from Wayne State University. He leads his second group to Ghana for a series of educational and cultural exchanges.
1978 "Jumpin' Johnny" is named a patient rights advisor for the Lafayette clinic.
1979 He is inducted into the Wayne State University Sports Hall of Fame.
1981 He founds the National Association of African Americans, an organization connecting people to their roots in Africa.  
1985 He receives his doctorate in history and philosophy education from Wayne State University. "Jumpin' Johnny" pursues the degree to show drug addicts they can accomplish anything.
1986-93 Mayor Coleman Young appoints him Director of Drug Prevention, providing a $2 million budget to help educate citizens about the city's growing problem with drug addiction.
1987 Dr. Kline is named to the State Nursing Board by Michigan Gov. Jim Blanchard. He starts his Youth Athletic Enrichment Program, a community educational program for middle school athletes to help reduce drug use and curtail a 40 percent student dropout rate in public schools.
1990 He develops a workshop curriculum on drug prevention for Detroit Public Schools.
1991-94 He serves Detroit Public Schools as the Director of Drug Free Schools. "Jumpin' Johnny" helps develop an intensive program aimed at educating 175,000 students about the dangers of drug use.
1992-94 Dr. Kline leads health retreats in Jamaica.
1994-96 He serves Detroit Public Schools as the Director of Health Promotion and Wellness.
1995 He attends the Million Man March in Washington, D.C., and helps develop health programs for the Million Man Alumni Association.
1996 The retired basketball star founds the Black Legends of Professional Basketball, a non-profit organization aimed at educating the public about the history and contributions of America's black basketball pioneers. He writes the autobiography Never Lose. The book provides details about his life, including his basketball career, international travels, victory over drug addiction, and educational accomplishments.
1997-2003 "Jumpin' Johnny" hosts the "Gathering of Legends" in Detroit. The annual awards banquet features a Hall of Fame induction ceremony for former Harlem Globetrotters and overlooked NBA players.
1998 He successfully wages a national campaign to get the first Harlem Globetrotter (Marques Haynes) inducted into the Naismith Hall of Fame. This opened the door for the Globetrotter team and individual Globetrotter inductees Meadowlark Lemon and the first female member Lynette Woodard. The same year, he hosts jazz and health talk shows for radio station WDTR-FM in Detroit.
2001 Dr. Kline writes the textbook for his Youth Athletic Enrichment Program. Urban Rites of Passage, Volume I gives middle school students invaluable insights on the value of athletic leadership, education, and drug prevention. He receives the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Harlem Globetrotters and the "Michigan Amateur Athlete of the Year Award" from the governor of Michigan.
2002 He writes Urban Rites of Passage, Volume II. The same year, he receives the "Legends Award" from the Harlem Globetrotters and the "Distinguished Service Award" from the Team for Justice for his work with convicted felons. He successfully lobbies the Michigan state Senate to pass a resolution honoring black basketball legends for their contributions to the game.
2003 "Jumpin' Johnny" convinces U.S. Rep. Carolyn Cheeks Kilpatrick and U.S. Senator Carl Levin to sponsor bills in the U.S. Congress honoring black basketball pioneers for their contributions to the game. House Bill 59 and Senate Bill 57 both pass with majority votes. The same year, he writes the books The Life and Times of Jumpin' Johnny Kline and The Power of Positive Living, a guide to better health and wellness.
2004 The national magazine About Time and the Mississippi newspaper The Jackson Advocate carry "spotlight" articles about the basketball legend. The same year, he releases Black Pawns in the Cold War, a book detailing how the U.S. State Department used the Harlem Globetrotters in the 1950s to help defeat Communism.
2005 Dr. Kline is inducted into the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame.
2007 He moves the Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation to Brentwood, Tenn., and launches a campaign to help raise funds for retired members of the Harlem Globetrotters, many of whom face financial hardships and life-threatening illnesses. He presents a lecture and memorabilia exhibit at Vanderbilt University in Nashville.
2008 The Associated Press spotlights the basketball legend in a nationally wired feature story. He releases the second editions of his books Never Lose and The Power of Positive Living and develops a screenplay for Never Lose.
2009 Under his direction, the Tennessee-based Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation names the late legendary athletes Johnny Isaacs and Al "Runt" Pullins as the first recipients of its newly established "Black Basketball Pioneers of the Year" award. He pens Barnstormin', a book that details the invaluable roles of black basketball players during the 1920s, '30s and '40s, a period when African Americans were not allowed to participate in the white professional basketball leagues. The book is developed into a movie/TV screenplay.

For more information about Dr. Kline's weight management program, health and nutrition program, life coaching for athletes and others, and community development programs, please call (615) 838-7330.

John L. Kline Ph. D. – Dedicated to help others help themselves.

When he returned to Detroit in 1960 after his travels around the world with the Harlem Globetrotters he succumbed to drugs which dominated his community. After 9 years he entered the National Mental Health Methadone Program to try to break this drug addiction cycle. He spent 3 months as an in-patient and 2 months as an out-patient at the Lafayette Clinic Teaching Institute. He completed his Bachelor’s degree at Wayne State University in 1973, earned his Master’ degree in 1977 and his Ph.D. degree in 1985.  John was named Director of the Methadone Program in the City of Detroit and worked with the Mayors Committee of Human Resource Development (MCHRD) which he eventually became Director. Dr. Kline worked for the State of Michigan in substance abuse research and patient rights. He started his own Health Promotion and Wellness Company and was appointed by Detroit Mayor Coleman A. Young to Director of Drug Prevention and Education Services. He became the Director of Drug Free Schools and Communities for the Detroit Public Schools and Michigan’s Governor James Blanchard, recognized Dr. Kline’s expertise in substance abuse and appointed him to the Michigan Board of Nursing. He was selected as Regional Director of Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign on drugs and the United States Information Agency (USIA) selected Dr. Kline to address issues on steroids, cocaine and other drugs in Nassau, Bahamas.

In 1986 Dr. Kline developed the Youth Athletic Enrichment Program (YAEP) at Wayne State University. YAEP spread to the recreation centers and then grew into all eighty Middle Schools in Detroit, Michigan. The YAEP, “after school” program, included 2,000 students per year. It was successful and continues today. It consists of programs that plant the seeds of better Life Skills that open the eyes of all students using the academic/athlete leader concept in Inner-City schools.

Dr. Kline’s vision is to take this program national to the 27 cities where NBA Teams play their home games. The Program consists of Power Living Clubs for students and the Power Living Wellness/Disease Prevention Program for adults in Inner-Cities.

He founded and is President of the Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation (BLPBF), a Detroit based 501 C 3 non-profit tax exempt foundation which promotes and preserves the history and culture of African American basketball from its inception in 1891 through 1950. BLPBF supports the African American pioneers who paved the way for their inclusion in the NBA.

In 1998 he led the campaign inducting Marques Haynes as the first Harlem Globetrotter into the Naismith Basketball’s Memorial Hall of Fame (NBMHF). Dr. Kline led the process which resulted in the Michigan Senate on 12/12/02 passing Resolution 286 which recognized the African American Pioneers of professional basketball. He also led the process on 10/7/05 when the 109th Congress issued Resolution 59 which honored African American Pioneers of professional basketball players. He continued with Resolution 57 introduced in the U.S. Senate by Senators Carl Levin and Debbie Stabenow, which also honored African American pioneers of professional basketball.

Dr. Kline was inducted into the African American Hall of Fame, the Wayne State University Hall of Fame, the Michigan Sports Hall of Fame and the Harlem Globetrotters exclusive Legends Circle. The Naismith Basketball Memorial Hall of Fame inducted Dr. John L. “Jumpin Johnny” Kline into the Hall of Fame in Springfield, MA on August 11, 2011 when he was awarded the Mannie Jackson Basketball’s Human Spirit Award.

Dr. Kline developed the Power Living Lifestyle program for individuals or teams. This 5 to 9 day hands-on program raises the performance of college and professional players beyond their expectations and can extend their years at the top of their profession. He has published fifteen books, three movie screenplays, three movie treatments and maintains a traveling exhibit of African American Professional Basketball from 1891 until 1950. He speaks around the country promoting programs which improve Life Skills from his latest book “The Power of Positive Living”.

On March 10, 2012 Yahoo! Sports, published the “Top 25 Greatest Harlem Globetrotter players of All Time “ Jumpin Johnny” Kline was listed number fifteen. He has dedicated his life to helping others help themselves and their communities. The Power Living Lifestyle Program was sent to the White House during the past five years and elements of this program are found in the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” program.

As you review this website check the products Dr. Kline has developed to help individuals and communities in Inner-Cities across the United States, including his unique Exhibit of African American Professional Basketball teams around the world from basketballs inception in 1891 through 1950 when the NBA first considered allowing African American players into its Association. Today, over 93% of all NBA players are African American. Given the opportunity African Americans will succeed.


Black Legends of Professional Basketball Foundation
1900 Acklen Ave, Ste. 1707
Nashville, TN 37212
(615) 457-3418


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