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Documentary highlights NYC street basketball

By Charles Hallman
Staff writer

 

The best basketball players often aren’t found in college or in the NBA, but on the nation’s blacktops. Using a late 1970s tune by the Blackbyrds as its overall theme, Doin’ It In The Park: Pick-Up Basketball, New York City accurately gives viewers a well-deserved look into pick-up basketball. Although they focused on the Big Apple, in many urban corridors, if you are a hoopster of any note, you will make or break your hoopin’ reputation on the blacktop. Many go on to star on high school and college teams; some even make it to the pros. Many others don’t — but that doesn’t make them any less significant in basketball circles — their streetball exploits will sometimes precede them. Continue Reading →

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Keith knows what he wants but not how to get it

How in the hell do you get someone to want you back? Keith was always a firm believer that you can’t make someone want you. Which is why devastatingly gorgeous women never drove him quite as crazy as they did other guys in this line of work. You ran into them all time. If you developed a crush on one and didn’t know how to get over it when she didn’t have one on you, you were going to make yourself insane every time you saw her. Especially when she was with another guy — or, for that matter, a woman. A cover girl he knew from the theatre district made his pulse run hot. But he wasn’t the least bit interested. He learned to live with it. This time was different. Lesli had wanted him once. And, now that he thought about it, he wouldn’t’ve got so mad if she didn’t still want him. That didn’t mean, however, she was going to take him back. She was stubborn enough to hold out until that want died. Continue Reading →

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Nets’ Anderson hoping for a turnaround

 

 

 

While local media types flew to a former Minnesota Timberwolves player in town, asking him once again what it’s like to play against his former team, this reporter opted instead to hang around a native Minneapolis player’s locker. Alan Anderson played his prep ball here, his college ball at Michigan State, and now is in his fifth NBA season with New Jersey. “I’m blessed,” admitted the 6’-6” guard/forward after his 11-point effort in a bad loss to the host Wolves. Anderson signed as a free agent with the Nets in July after one year in Toronto. He logged his “basketball years” in China, Russia, Croatia, Israel and Spain as well as in the NBA Development League. Continue Reading →

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The ghost of Neville Chamberlain

President Barack Obama stands in that shadow
 
Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of 1930s Great Britain, went to Munich, Germany to seek peace with Hitler. The “ghost” of Chamberlain refers to his miscalculating achieving “peace in our time” (a phrase used by President Obama in his second inaugural). Chamberlain’s miscalculation enabled World War II. As this column is written, the president has not yet addressed the nation or the congress. Was he persuasive? Continue Reading →

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The Good Wife Works – On having to prove one’s self-worth

 

Ossie Davis (1917-2005) remembered a Southern sheriff pouring syrup on his head as a child. Davis regarded this incident as pivotal, instilling what he called the “ni***r” effect in his mind: a form, function and reaction of cowardice as a self-protective device. “In the presence of [threat],” he wrote, “you do what you have to do in order to survive.”

In Davis’ judgment, this egregious lack of self-esteem instilled in Black men is the remnant of slavery and racism, damaging to the Black man’s image of himself. “The [African American community] shares the burden of racism,” John Edgar Wideman wrote, and “understands how it hurts, scars, and deforms.”

A young Black American man recently spoke of similarly systemic racism when he lived in an African country dominated by European imperialism. Only European history was in the books. Continue Reading →

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