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Basketball 1920-1929  Basketball was a recent invention (1891), but by 1920 it was well established in colleges and professionally.  There were significant.

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Presentation on theme: "Basketball 1920-1929  Basketball was a recent invention (1891), but by 1920 it was well established in colleges and professionally.  There were significant."— Presentation transcript:

1 Basketball  Basketball was a recent invention (1891), but by 1920 it was well established in colleges and professionally.  There were significant differences between the quality of play and the fan base for pro and college basketball.  Many of the professionals never went to college and some did not even complete high school.  The result was a much rougher professional game, with mostly lower- and working-class fans thriving on the rugged action.  Many newspapers would not cover pro basketball because they did not feel that their readers would find it appealing.  For much of the decade this was true of the New York Times, even though there were many professional leagues in the region and the top pro basketball team was located and associated with the city, the Original New York Celtics.

2 Basketball  The rules of the game were still in flux and court size, for example, was not standardized.  Foul shots were taken by 1 designated player on a team, though this began to change in the 1920s.  During this time, the professional game was played in a cage, usually of wire mesh, to both protect the players and make the game faster, since the ball was always in play, even off the cage itself.  The cage had been developed in New York State in the early 1900s, but was phased out in the late 1920s.  The term “cagers” remained to identify designated players on a team.

3 Basketball  The Celtics were the dominant team of the 1920s, winning many league titles and playing games throughout the nation.  They brought many regions their 1 st opportunity to see the swiftness of pro basketball and they were real pioneers of the game.  Traveling by train, they would often play 2 games in a day at 2 different sites, usually winning both contests.  They learned to keep games close in order to make sure that there would be interest in their games the next time they came to town.

4 Basketball  Most pro basketball leagues were regional and many players played in more than 1 league since only the Celtics had exclusivity clauses in their contracts.  Players were able to renegotiate contract terms with teams, sometimes on a daily or weekly basis.  Pro basketball was wildly disorganized, but games often drew large crowds of more than 10,000 to armories or arenas where the games were played.

5 Basketball  The Eastern League, mostly centered around the Philadelphia region, was the longest-lived league, lasting from (then reappearing in 1925 – 1926).  Other top leagues were the New York State League, which ran from (with a hiatus for World War I).  The Pennsylvania State League, from in the Wyoming Valley area in the northeastern part of the state.  The Interstate League, which moved its location and franchises frequently from (with various stoppages).  And the Metropolitan League, which went from , when it suspended operations for 3 years.

6 Basketball  The 1 st truly, national professional basketball league was the American Basketball League (ABL), which began operations in 1925 in 9 large cities, stretching from Boston to Chicago.  In 1926 the Celtics were “forced” to join the league because the league members would no longer play teams outside the league.  The Celtics won the league titles in both 1926–1927 and 1927–1928, before the league disbanded them and the players were redistributed among other ABL teams.  In their final season in the league, the Celtics went 40–9, with the next- closest league team having a record of 30–21. In 1928–1929 and 1929–1930, the Cleveland Rosenblooms, with former Celtics Joe Lapchick, Henry “Dutch” Dehnert, and Pete Barry, won the ABL titles.

7 Basketball Ethnicity in Pro Basketball  African Americans began playing basketball soon after its invention, with players in New York and Washington, D.C., the best organized and dominant in most play.  Edwin Henderson, an outstanding player in the Washington area in the early 20 th century, became an outstanding coach and promoter of the game into the 1960s.  The Harvard-educated leader died in 1977 at the age of 93.

8 Basketball Ethnicity in Pro Basketball  In 1923 Robert “Bob” Douglas formed a team that played its initial home games on the floor of the Renaissance Casino in Harlem and became known as the Renaissance Big 5 or the New York Renaissance.  By 1927 the Rens were the acknowledged top African American team in basketball and they became one of the top professional teams of the 1930s.  The Rens stars were Clarence “Fat” Jenkins, James “Pappy” Ricks, Eyre “Bruiser” Saitch (also a top-ranked tennis player), Hilton “Kid” Slocum, and Charles “Tarzan” Cooper.

9 Basketball Ethnicity in Pro Basketball  There were a number of excellent African American teams barnstorming during this decade, most notably the Harlem Globetrotters (actually from Chicago) who began in 1927 and rivaled the Rens for success during the 30s & 40s.  In the 1950s the Globetrotters would become more “entertainment” than a legitimate team, after the National Basketball Association came into being and began signing African American players.  The African American squads received excellent media coverage in the black press.  The Chicago Defender, the Pittsburgh Courier, the New York Amsterdam News, among many others all covered the various teams in the newspapers' weekly publications.

10 Basketball Ethnicity in Pro Basketball  In the 1920s there were many teams composed of players of similar ethnicity and the team names often reflected this such as the Brooklyn Visitation (Irish Roman Catholic) and the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association squad. (The latter team was one of the top teams of the late 1920s and 1930s, chief rivals to the Celtics and the Rens.)  The SPHAs played in a number of leagues, but mostly barnstormed in the 1920s and perpetuated an early stereotype that Jews were good in basketball through their cleverness and sleight of hand. George “Horse” Haggerty of the Palace Club holding basketball upside down with one hand.

11 Basketball Basketball Transportation  Pro basketball in the 1920s was successful largely because of the U.S. railroad system.  Most of the top pro players were essentially independent contractors who played for the highest bidder on a regular basis.  The Pennsylvania State League was composed of cities located on the Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia and Erie, and the Delaware, Lackawanna and Western railroads.  Many players would meet in Grand Central Station in New York City and compare game salaries and destinations with their peers.  This made pro basketball a seller-driven economy, players had greater economic leverage than the owners, the buyers of the players' services.

12 Basketball Basketball Transportation  Some barnstorming teams, like the New York Rens, purchased a bus and traveled in that manner.  This gave them flexibility to go to any town, even those not on rail lines.  It also gave them a place to eat or sleep in case they faced either Jim Crow laws or hotels or restaurants that would not serve African Americans.

13 Basketball Women’s Basketball  Basketball was one sport that attracted women early on, and not just as spectators. Shortly after the invention of the game, interscholastic and college teams were formed and women enjoyed the game greatly.  Senda Berenson of Smith College created a set of rules that adapted the men's game for women's “more delicate” constitutions.  Players had assigned areas on the court and could not go to other areas.  The game had 3 zones and players could only play in 2 contiguous zones. The game became a 6 person game with play at each offensive end, 3 on 3.  Over time, the playing on a competitive basis was altered to emphasize sportsmanship, exhibited at “play days.”

14 Basketball College Basketball  The college game was different from the professional basketball game, because it was not as rough and had a limited number of fouls allowed before a player could be disqualified.  There were no national tournaments.  Nat Holman, the Celtics' star, was also the coach of the City College of New York team. CCNY was a top squad in the New York region, as was New York University, where Howard Cann starred and later coached.  A number of legendary coaches led top teams.  Justin “Sam” Barry and his Iowa Hawkeyes won the Big Ten title in  Everett Dean was a top player and coach at Indiana University, leading them to the 1926 Big Ten title.  At Wisconsin, Walter “Doc” Meanwell had a 22 year coaching career from The Badgers won Big Ten titles in 1921, 1923, 1924, & 1929.

15 Basketball College Basketball  Because there was no playoff system, the National Invitation Tournament [NIT] began in 1938, the National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA] Tournament in  The University of Pittsburgh, coached by Cliff Carlson, was undefeated in 1928 (21–0) and was acclaimed as the national champions by most writers and coaches.  In 1923 & 1924 Forrest “Phog” Allen, another Hall of Fame coach, from the University of Kansas, led his Jayhawks to national championships, as proclaimed by the Helms Athletic Foundation.  Allen was also a founder of the National Association of Basketball Coaches in 1927 and served as its 1 st president.


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