19 March 2008

Black Magic on ESPN

Recommended: the ESPN basketball special Black Magic.
You can watch clips of the program here.

It was a little choppy in spots with the way they told the stories, but it was really good. I didn't have a lot of respect for some of the old timey basketball coaches or their style (slow and slower), but the program focused on historically black colleges.
What I learned:
  • These cats could really ball. I take a dim view of the early game and many of its players. Frankly, most of them weren't that good and wouldn't get a look in today's NBA. Cousy is my best example; Chris Paul would eat him alive and he's only 6 feet tall. Baron Davis, all 6' 3" and 230 lbs of him, would kick his ass for real. After watching footage of these small college guys it was a shame they were kept out. It set the league back 20 years.
  • Some historically black colleges/universities had innovative coaches, playing styles, etc. So they played a superior, up-tempo, modern game.
  • Nicknames were much better back in the day. "Big House" Gaines. "Pee-Wee" Kirkland. Al "The Destroyer" Attles, Earl "The Pearl" Monroe, Robert Earl "Butterbean" Love, Tommy "The Machine Gun" Grant, etc.
  • You could see why the pro teams had a quota system: the stiffs on the roster knew they'd be out of a job in no time because these guys could really play.
If you like basketball, I encourage you to watch it. If you can get through the part about Bob Love starting his life over without choking up then call me. But call the hospital first, because they need to re-start your cold, dead heart.

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