JoAnn Boone Clements thought it was a leftover April Fool's Day joke.
Her brother Gary Boone of Crichton sent her a text message Monday saying the All-American Red Heads were getting inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.
Boone Clements, a former Greenbrier West High School and University of Charleston standout at center, played for the all-woman barnstorming basketball team known as the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters during the 1985-86 season, the Red Heads' last year in existence.
"He texted me on my way to work,'' said Boone Clements, who now resides in Vesuvius, Va. "He said, 'I'm not kidding. April Fool's was yesterday.'
"I've been ecstatic and in awe. I don't believe it. I still can't believe it. This has been an awesome year for me. Last year on April 6 they told me I had breast cancer and I thought it was the end of the world. This year on April 2 I made the Hall of Fame and I'm cancer free.''
The Red Heads, who were based in Caraway, Ark., and toured the United States and the world during a 50-year span from 1936-1986, are among the 12-member Hall of Fame Class of 2012 that includes NBA, college and international greats and pioneering contributors who will be inducted in September in Springfield, Mass.
"It was fun,'' Boone Clements recalled of her 100-plus-game stint with the Red Heads. "We traveled all over the United States and played ball. I loved playing ball. It was a real experience. You met a lot of people.
"We played in some places I came out beat up. It's hard to believe some of the places we played. You've got good and bad memories. We played firemen, cops, junior colleges and it was all men. We never played any women. Some of the men didn't like the women beating them either.
"The Red Heads used to do a skit every quarter and we would tell the guys what we were going to do so we could set it up for the fans and some guys wouldn't let you do it. That's how serious they took it.''
The Red Heads, who were either natural red heads or dyed their hair, were also responsible for entertaining the crowd during halftime while their opponents rested.
"We had different skits,'' Boone Clements said. "We all had our own little tricks. Me and another girl did a double dribble with two balls. I did two balls and she did two balls, we dribbled them and passed them back and forth.''
Boone Clements also performed a trick in which she spun the ball on her finger, deflected the ball off her knee and back onto her finger. She repeated the trick with her elbow, then for the finale she would use her elbow to shoot the ball into the basket.
"We practiced nine hours a day for two weeks before we went on the road,'' she said. "We played about every night. One night we might be in Florida and the next afternoon in North Carolina.
"We'd get to our destination and go in and play ball. It was very tiring. You had to be in good shape. We started out with seven [players during the final season] and only ended up with five. You didn't have any substitutes. That was a little rough.''
Boone Clements helped Greenbrier West advance to the Class AA state championship game in 1981, but the Cavaliers lost to Dunbar 57-54.