Saturday, March 16, 2013
the last book I ever read (The Big O by Oscar Roberston, excerpt six)
from The Big O: My Life, My Times, My Game by Oscar Robertson:
At the time, however, basketball was a series of blurred images and still photos; it was bulky men in crew cuts lumbering across the lane for hook shots, short athletic men darting around; it was underhand free throws and long-range set shots. Big men played close to the basket. Little men handled the ball. This was how the game was played.
I don’t know if I was the first six-foot-five, two-hundred-pound athlete to handle the ball as much as I did, let alone play the way I did. I do think it’s safe to say that my performance at Madison Square Garden was a touchstone moment for the sport of basketball. I think that watching someone with my athletic ability, size, skills, and basketball knowledge gave experts a sense of the future. Along with Wilt Chamberlain, Bill Russell, Elgin Baylor, Jerry West, and a host of other players who would dominate the upcoming decade. I represented a step forward in the game’s evolution. To a large degree, I think that’s what people were responding to.