Crowdsourcing Basketball History: Change the Terrain
December 13, 2012 § 41 Comments
I’m working on a book about basketball and I’d like you to help me help all of humanity. I want to see what the terrain of basketball history looks like from behind the eyes of others.
In his remarkable book Soccer In Sun and Shadow, Eduardo Galeano offers a brief history of soccer through 168 very short “chapters.” Galeano’s book begins with 17 chapters covering elements of the game (e.g. “the player,” “the fan,” “the ball,”). Then he moves into a half-dozen or so chapters dealing with the origins of soccer, its rules, and its spread around the world. From there the rest of the chapters move more or less chronologically forward in time offering brief, but usually powerfully written, evocative, and thought provoking snapshots of events (e.g. “the 1938 World Cup”), plays (e.g. “goal by Maradona”), individuals (“pelé”), relations between soccer and the world beyond the lines (e.g.”soccer and the generals”), or anecdotes (e.g. “my poor beloved mother”).
I’d like loosely to adapt Galeano’s method to my book on basketball. And this is where you come in. It’s not that I can’t come up with a list of individuals, teams, eras, rivalries, events, plays, games etc. that I think are interesting enough for inclusion in such a book. I can. But if you imagine the items on that list distributed over a field (each item perhaps rising to a height corresponding to its importance in my basketball imagination), you get a sense of basketball history as a topographical terrain. And my own version of that terrain is too familiar to me.
I’m interested in perspectives other than my own. I’m interested in your perspective. Whether you are rabid or casual fan, or not a fan at all; whether you are much younger than me or much older than me; whether you’ve played or not played, or at whatever level; whether you are a writer or not, a reader or not; whether you are a boy or a girl, a man or woman or refuse those categories; black or white or refuse those categories: no matter what particular intersection of forces and categories you are standing at, it will be different than mine and I’m interested in what you see from your intersection.
So you use the comment section below to tell me as many of the most important things in basketball history as you like. You can tell me a player or participant in the game, an event, a team, a play, a date, a piece of equipment, a rule…anything you like, as many as you like. You can also contact me directly with your suggestions if you prefer. And feel free, but not obligated, to tell me why.
Also, pass this along through your networks, if you would. The greater the response the better for all of humanity.
I really appreciate this as I believe the book will be so much more interesting if it incorporates real perspectives on the history other than my own. Thanks! ~Yago
P.S. So far I have been given two responses:
1. Magic Johnson announces he has AIDS.
2. Len Bias dies.
(UPDATE: I’ve received more responses in the comments section. Feel free to add your own there.)