Monday, July 4, 2011

FTT Review: On The Shoulders Of Giants

New to Netflix Instant, this is a docu- mentary of the Harlem Rens, "the best team you've never heard of," the New York team that changed the world of pro hoop, at least prior to the 1950 integration. Produced and narrated by Kareem Abdul-Jabber, it's pretty stylish and does a nice job of emoting the mood of the Harlem Renaissance. It is, of course, light on the hoop for a very long time, and a bit too self-congratulatory to my eyes, but I'm not quite qualified to say such things, of course. But from the point of hoop, what I got from this was the following:

> Even from the beginning, you've got casinos and naming rights being tied into teams

> Style was important, with the idea that the play was supposed to be above the rim, which of course predates that kind of play in mainstream hoop by 50 years

> At the end of the games, they'd move the hoops and seats out, then go right into a jazz show... all for the same entry price

> From the footage, they looked like a proto-Globetrotter style, or a Princeton offense weave, with a center playing with his back to the basket and distributing

> Without a shot clock or refs that were interested in doing very much, games were generally in the 30s

> The original Celtics were... white muscle guys that didn't like to run who crushed spirits in a 3-game exhibition sweep, starting the Great Depression, and no, these are not coincidental events (though to be fair, the Celtics were a hugely beneficial thing for the Rens)

> While barnstorming, they would frequently stayed in jails, as this was the safest place for them to be, and were stabbed, burned and cut by spectators

> On some level, you wonder what life would have been like if some entrepreneur had the same idea with Native American hoopers, since those folks do spectacularly well in the West

> John Wooden actually played against these teams as a player, and Wooden credits them as the best team he ever saw

> There's still bad blood for the Harlem Globetrotters, which can't come as any kind of surprise, really

Anyway, if you like the game for the game, and want to see where it all came from... give it a spin. It's worthwhile.

No comments:

Ads In This Size Rule