Posted by Steve Bzomowski on February 16, 2007
Basketball is played all over the world (and beyond, recall Darryl Dawkins and Planet Lovetron, and add to that the intergalactic display slated for this weekend in Las Vegas). On a more terrestrial level, there are a lot of interesting stories told about playing in unusual places. That’s the fun in it, right? Every game of basketball takes you somewhere new. Christine Bader, former NTL Hooper in NYC wrote a memorable piece awhile back: “A Night of Basketball in Manila”. One more recent basketball journey comes from Russ Bradburd. There is a nicely told review to help take you there, posted February 14, 2007 by Richard Kortum of East Tennessee State University on ARETE, a moderated e-mail discussion list hosted by The Sport Literature Association concerning “Paddy on the Hardwood”:
“Dr. James Naismith once proudly remarked of his invention, ‘I am sure that no man can derive more pleasure from money or power than I do from seeing a pair of basketball goals in some out of the way place – deep in the Wisconsin woods an old barrel hoop nailed to a tree, or a weather-beaten shed on the Mexican border with a rusty iron hoop nailed to one end.’
Driving across the treeless Mongolian steppe five years past, I glimpsed a most incongruous apparition. I had to rub my eyes. About a mile off the track there stood a lone sentinel: a tall wooden post with a single rough cross board and basketball hoop attached. Venturing off the beaten track in Mongolia requires that one be ready for just about anything. It’s the closest thing to being on another planet. But a basketball hoop? In the middle of nowhere? . . .”
Thanks to Akira Motomura for the tip!