So amongst the things I found was a fabulous text called, 100 Years of Hoops, written by Alexander Wolff. If you do not own this text, and consider yourself a basketball junkie, I will be stopping by your house shortly to ridicule your devotion to the game. Ok, maybe not, but the point is that this book is nothing short of spectacular. The pictures, well-written sections, and statistical data base in the back are extraordinary.
Another pot of gold sitting and waiting at the end of the rainbow for me to stumble upon was two oversized basketball cards. They were purchased for me, by my father, before I was really even old enough to appreciate them. Printed in 1969 by Topps Chewing Gum Inc., in association with the NBPA, were mint condition Cazzie Russell and Earl Monroe basketball cards! Still in the package that they were given to me in, these cards are nothing short of throwback. The coolest part about these relics, aside from the fact that I found them still in mint condition, is that they have these little comics on the bottom. The comics, “explain”, basketball lingo. “Switching” on defense and, “The Pick-up Point”, (where you start to play defense) are hilariously illustrated. Could the extinction of educational resources like this be the reason for the fundamental demise of basketball in the current era? I have no basis to answer such a question, but hey, you never know. Maybe if youngsters today were privy to such resources I wouldn’t have to explain how to defend the pick and roll at the rec center every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
The last, but certainly not least, impressive find was two signed 8X10 pictures of Spencer Haywood. One is just a signature, but the other is personally addressed to yours truly. For those who don’t know, Spencer Haywood was a historical pioneer in a sense. He was one of the first to forswear his remaining years of college and make an early entry to the professional ranks. In 1969, Haywood tried to sign with the ABA’s Denver Rockets after just two years of college ball. As of result of his attempt, the NBA had to design a policy to permit, “hardship” cases. Haywood grew up in extremely impoverished conditions and when he smelt the money that was potentially his to make he wanted to make the jump. The NBA was later hit by a lawsuit filed by Haywood for not letting him play until his college class would have graduated. The Denver Rockets soon became the Nuggets and the rest is history. Needless to say is that I have to get a couple of frames for these babies!
Never would I have expected to find such gems in such a dreaded job. Just goes to show that I wasn’t born this way, (Totally obsessed with basketball). I had a lot of influence along the way. Big thanks goes out to the biggest influence in my life. You’re the root of this amazing obsession!