Sunday, December 28, 2008

Skillz

Let's take a break from all of the doom and gloom, shall we...?


My first taste of ballin' magic was the Globetrotters, of course; Curly Neal was the dope shit, plus Meadowlark was funny. Later, as a child of the 60's and 70's, I heard tales of Bob Cousy's trickery, and ran out to the library and got his book, Basketball is My Life; I'll never forget the two page photo spread in the middle with stop action photos of him performing his around the back move.



I was lucky as a kid to witness greatness in person in the form of Elgin Baylor, who'd do his famous hang in the air and no look passes at a time when b-ball was just hinting at the freedom of improvisation and creativity that the streets brought. I honestly thought he was a god of some sort, I just marveled at his skill and talent, and to this day, he's without a doubt one of the greatest artists I've ever seen in any discipline.


Then it was the first incarnation of showtime with a small "s" brought by Pistol Pete Maravich. Dude's legendary so there's no need for me to go on. One thing I will say when I read about him as a kid; his father would drive and he'd sit in the passenger seat and dribble out the window! Guess they couldn't have been going that fast. No less than Isiah Thomas called him the man.


During Maravich's era one guy that never gets mentioned is an Angeleno, Paul Westphal. Boy had skillz and proved it by putting on a show during halftime when (I think it was) CBS ran a HORSE competition. He's assisting at Dallas now.


Then it was on to the true beginnings of the modern era, when the game began to evolve above the rim and below as well. But the magicians were Isiah and Magic, "Showtime" with a capital "S," and even Bird who'd let loose with a no look because he simply had that sixth sense that the great ones do.


And 1 has taken it to DVD in the form of their freeform streetball theater - it's not really hoops per se, and is entertaining for a bit. So to provide a bit of entertainment, here's a white boy with some flava; truth is the kid's not really that good as a player but he's got some nice tricks; this is a triumph of editing and it's fun. Gotta say though there's a nice dish at the top when he breaks that kid's ankles.


Here's Rory Grace, aka, "Disaster," with a nice track by Arcee.

video