Sunday, April 14, 2013

the last book I ever read (David Halberstam's The Breaks of the Game, excerpt seventeen)

from The Breaks of the Game by David Halberstam:

By the early sixties, the game had, in his own words, “gone in the air.” He remembered when he had first realized it, watching a predominately black team from Cincinnati beaten by a team from Loyola of Chicago with an all-black starting lineup. Watching the game he had felt an immense excitement. This was a sport in which he had excelled—in fact in his time he had been one of the best, there had been All-American mentions—and now he was watching a generation of young black men so superior in their gifts that he could not even imagine playing against them. It was an epiphany. He knew that he was watching only the beginning, that this was not going to be some isolated phenomenon at a Cincinnati-Loyola game. Given the number of superb black athletes in the country, how much greater their educational opportunities were becoming, it was undoubtedly the first wave of something large. The sport, he sensed, was about to change color. Watching that game he realized that all the coaching rules of the past, so carefully drilled into players like him—where to set your body, where to position your feet—were meaningless. Those rules were for a slow game played on the floor by slow players and this was a new acrobatic game where players floated above the floor.

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