Thursday, March 14, 2013

the last book I ever read (The Big O by Oscar Robertson, excerpt four)

from The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game by Oscar Robertson:

It was the strangest thing: While the teams were warming up, I remember the crowd being silent. Could it have been because there were no white players on either team? Because Indiana’s legendary cultured and die-hard basketball fans were not all that excited about sitting there and watching black players, black coaches, and black student managers? Because maybe they were worried about us racial interlopers kidnapping their beloved game? They weren’t sitting on their hands because of a lack of cheerleaders. Squads from white schools in Indianapolis and Gary made a point of showing city and racial unity, coming out to join in with both teams’ cheer lines. That touched me back then. Even now it’s one of the little details in my life that helps me, when I look back.

We won the opening tip, and I immediately took a pass at the top of the key, gave my quick fake, and took that one hard dribble—a move I’d been making since I was a child, a move I’d practiced tens of thousands of times.

The game was nine seconds old. I pulled up for a sixteen-foot jump shot. The ball dropped through the bottom of the net.

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