Bread City Basketball


The Leap by Cliff Dweller
April 26, 2012, 12:44 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: ,

Shooting hoops,
you realize that
the spirit of the universe
swirls around you
like a gentle
blue light
The lowering sun beckons
your eyes and nothing else
This is all you need
This is your life,
that hunk of
one city street,
and you become
a thing of beauty
jumping through
the evening’s stillness
with this pumpkin
in your hand
You choose
to be outside
playing basketball
because you have
a small hole to fill
A net of darkness
that you love
more than a best friend
Street lights are shining again
in the shadow of the city
You’re in the middle,
catching the ball
before you leap
as high as Olympus
And suddenly you see
your fingertips
on the ball
growing older,
growing darker,
the very last drop
of immortality

by Cliff Dweller

1990s tribeca basketball nyc
photo via waiting4brooklyn



Great Jams: Do The Du (Casse)
April 23, 2012, 1:56 pm
Filed under: Basketball, Bread City, Music, Photography | Tags: ,


A Certain Ratio – Do The Du (Casse)



BASKETBALL IN IRAQ

I. American troops play basketball in Saddam Hussein’s occupied Birthday Palace. Tikrit, Iraq, 2004.

Iraq Saddam's Palace Tikrit Basketball
original photo by Paolo Woods

 –
II. The 1948 Summer Games in London was the first and only time that Iraq fielded an Olympic basketball team. They sustained five of the tournament’s worst defeats. Iraq lost to China, Korea, the Philippines, and Chile by an average of 86 points per game. The United States won gold.

Iraqi Olympic Basketball Team

kj
III. “The next week, back in Baghdad, I had a whiskey one evening with the Time bureau manager and a pair of reporters and told them about the killings at the basketball game… The bureau manager lit another cigarette as we sat in silence for a moment. ‘And especially, basketball being a pro-Western sport was nonsense,’ he said. ‘Iraqis have been playing basketball for fifty years, since long before all this. They love it.’”
– From The End of Major Combat Operations, by Nick McDonnell

Richard Mosse's Iraq
photo by Richard Mosse



Best Side
February 1, 2012, 9:14 am
Filed under: Bread City, New York City, Photography, Poetry | Tags: , ,

Hot bowl of pastina,
23rd Street and the river.
Subway grime patina,
shout to chopped liver.

Chelsea Penthouse NYC Photo
photo by Stephan Alessi



GREAT JAMS: SPOTTIE
January 30, 2012, 12:39 pm
Filed under: Bread City, College Basketball, Music, Sports Photography | Tags: ,


Hypnotic Brass EnsembleSpottie

NCAA DUNK CONTEST
photo via TGA



BILL BRADLEY: BASKETBALL POET

What attracted me was the swish, the sound of the dribble, the feel of going up in the air. You don’t need eight others, like in baseball. You don’t need any brothers or sisters. Just you. I wonder what the guys are doing back home. I’d like to be there, but it’s as much fun here, because I’m playing. It’s getting dark. I have to go back for dinner. I’ll shoot a couple more. Feels good. A couple more.
- From A Sense of Where you Are: Bill Bradley at Princeton, by John McPhee

The Knicks stole Bill Bradley in the 1965 NBA Draft. There was no frozen envelope, just a now-obscure rule known as the Territorial Pick. Between 1950 and 1966, NBA teams had first dibs on drafting any college player within 50 miles.

Bradley had graduated from Princeton as the Associated Press Player of the Year, the NCAA Tournament’s Most Outstanding Player, and a two-time First Team All-American. And since Princeton, New Jersey is 1 mile closer to New York City than to Philadelphia, the Knicks were able to scoop Bradley away from the 76ers as a Territorial Pick.

The rest is history: Bradley played with New York for his entire basketball career – save for one season with Olimpia Milano – and his #24 jersey was retired by the Knicks in 1984.

Bill Bradley Knick



Woody Allen on Earl Monroe

“What makes Monroe different is the indescribable heat of genius that burns deep inside him. Some kind of diabolical intensity comes across his face when he has the ball. One is suddenly transported to a more primitive place…It’s amazing, because the audience’s “high” originates inside Monroe and seems to emerge over his exterior.
- Woody Allen, Sport Magazine, Nov. 1977.

Allen is sent by the once-great Sport to interview Earl Monroe for a cover story. But Pearl never shows and Allen is left to make small talk with “Earl’s lady.” A true fan, Woody swallows the snub and writes a great profile of the arthritic Knicks captain anyway, full of signature wit and basketball wisdom.

I read a transcript of the article once before, but never saw the original scans until yesterday, thanks to the excellent Oakley & Allen. True holy grail status! Check it out.

Earl Monroe photographed by Jim Cummins