Thursday, February 6, 2014

A Black History Month Salute to the Original Pioneers of basketball

Renaissance Rens

During black history month I'd like to give Claude Johnson, CEO of The and Fox Sports Network a salute on their contribution on letting the world know about the original pioneers during the black fives basketball era. This is also a great educational tool for all coaches to teach their players about the original pioneers of this era of who they were and their struggles and sacrifice during these hard times in America. Their  contributions to the game of a basketball were were unbelievable and forgotten, but it's now being brought to light. For this, I am grateful to know and keep learning about the Blackfives.

There's one team of this ear that I truly admire. The New York Rens. Legendary UCLA coach John Wooden once mentioned, “To this day, I have never seen a team play better team basketball,” said legendary coach and Hall of Fame member John Wooden – who faced the barnstorming Rens often during the mid-1930s while a player with the Indianapolis Kautskys and other all-white pro basketball teams in Indiana – in a USA Today interview in 2000. “They had great athletes, but they weren’t as impressive as their team play. The way they handled and passed the ball was just amazing to me then, and I believe it would be today.”

 In 1939, the New York Rens won the inaugural World Championship of Professional Basketball, an invitation-only tourney with a field made up of America’s twelve best pro hoops teams. The title game saw the Rens defeating the Oshkosh All Stars. Oshkosh had been the champion of the National Basketball League, a whites-only league.

That quote from legendary Coach John Wooden reminded me of how my team, the Georgetown Hoyas play. The Georgetown offense that is! I found a Washington Post article Mike Wise had written about the Princeton offense on March 23, 2006, Princeton Offense Keeps Hoyas On The Move. "Many kids still don't understand how the gray jersey they had locked down on the wing changed direction in a blink and caught a threaded bounce pass for a layup. They all must wonder, deep down: "How come Backdoor U. is still playing and we're out?"

That's easy. The Hoyas are a smarter, more cohesive and patient basketball team. In an increasingly I-gotta-get-mine, sneaker-deal world, they bought into a system of five teammates playing as one. They long ago tuned out the "Georgetown-plays-boring" lament and kept learning and winning."

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