As I looked up into the rafters of this old building, I heard something. There was no one there besides us and grand pa was quite in front of me. I wasn't sure what that noise was but it was a high pitched and it sounded like a squeak. I ask my grand pa "here?". He said "yup this is it!" I looked around an empty room and saw the dust on everything. The room was large but I could still see the other side. The floor was wood and worn with some old paint from a forgotten time. "this is where the world changed for the better" my grand pa said. At one end of the room on the celling there was a structure and on the other end the same structure. Once there was a peach basket with ladder next to it. A little later it had a small hole in the bottom for a dowel to be used with. Then a hole large enough to let a ball fall through.
"Dr. Naismith, worked here at the YMCA when I was a child" my grand pa stated. "I got to see him apply the sport he invented". I looked at my grand pa and asked "WHY and what for?". My grand pa smiled " this sport was invented to help another sport". He continued "Football coaches wanted their players to have an indoor activity to promote teamwork and to keep there athletes fit during the offseason".
He went on to talk about the 1st couple of years of the sport. Most of it about how the venue has changed and the product of basketball was different. From the chicken wire fences to protect the fans and the players. To the players themselves that would routinely break fingers and arms playing a game and play the next night with a cast that would probably become a weapon. He also discussed different things about the game that changed like the 24 second clock and the 3 point line(he really hated that the players that played before the 3 line. "that was a 2 in my day" ) Oh and traveling, he absolutely hated that one of the 1st rules in basketball basically went away in the NBA. For those of you too young to remember it is 1 & 1/2 steps you get not 2, 2&1/2 or 5 if you play for the Heat.
As we left the old building scheduled to be demolished in the next week my grand pa talked to the guard that let us in for a while. Thoughts streamed through my head about the game. On our way home he entertained me with the stories of Red and Bill. Tommy, Cousy and Havlicek of course were a part of it as well. This is one story that I would always remember.
"the Celtics were up by 16 and the point spread was 17. Cousy with 5 seconds left on the clock was all alone near the scoring basket. 3 Cousy goes up for the layup. 2 the ball is in the air going up to the rim. 1 the ball bounces wildly off the rim. 0 into the 2nd row of seats. It was never confirmed but I would think someone made money that night with the Celtics not covering the spread" . He never told me the date or what season that was since it was about 50 years later I asked. I loved this story because it underlined what the players played for in those days and what the climate was for players who were lucky enough to play a sport for a living. In the off season the players had jobs like construction and pier work.
I like most of you was put to bed with Johnny Most on the radio and my father and grand pa telling the history of basketball's greatest teamoh the memories. I was young but I still remember the Bird/ Magic years that reinvigorated the NBA. My grand pa would always remind me that without Red and Bill there would be no NBA for Bird and Magic to fortify and later Jordan to take to the next level.
I have always loved basketball and I am afraid I always will. This lockout has been nothing but terrible and tiresome. I cannot wait until these parties get together and say what Bob Kraft said during the NFL lockout. "WE NEED TO FIX THIS FOR THE FANS, THEY ARE THE REASON WE ARE AND WE SHOULD NOT BE SO DISMISSIVE OF THEM FOR THEY ARE THE SOLE REASON FOR OUR BUSINESS AND WITHOUT THEM WE CANNOT AND WILL NOT EXIST" I am paraphrasing right now but the jist is correct. I know it's not on topic but THANK YOU MR. KRAFT FOR ALL YOUR HARD WORK and at least I will have something to watch until February and that’s close to when pitchers and catchers report.
In a league that caters to the whinny of their pure breeds, I call shenanigans. Shenanigans on your league and your owners. Shenanigans on trying to tell the public that it's the players fault for the owners locking them out. Shenanigans on the owners trying to paint the players as greedy millionaires(the players gave you 4% and you can afford to pay them millions of dollars EACH). Shenanigans on the owners that cannot finance their team correctly and want the other owners to make up for their mistakes.
I know the last CBA wasn't good for everybody, the players made a boat full of money. The owners still paid them and still were able to survive. If you don’t want to pay your players then sell the team. This is the time to compromise this is the time to act. This is not the time to go Christmas shopping, or spend with your family. WE WANT OUR FAMILY BACK. Papa Peirce, Uncle Ray Ray, Godfather KG, Cousin Rage, little bro Jeff Green and of course big baby.
The noise I heard I later recognized. I am not sure if it's the same thing but it sure sounds a lot like a sneaker turning on a parquet floor from a great distance. Someone missed an important FT is still running wind sprints. As my grand pa would say "he missed it and there all important."