Thursday, March 22, 2012

Louisville wins, old times revisited

Louisville's win tonight over Michigan State was the best game, from a completely personal point of view, that I have seen in a long time - on the edge of my seat even as they seemed to be in control. Who is ever really ever in control of a top tier college basketball ball game until the last minute or two.

Living in Louisville both during the Bridgman/Cox/Murphy era of the mid '70's and the Doctors of Dunk era of the late '70's was the most intense vicarious basketball experience of my life. When the 1975 team that included Junior Bridgman, Alan Murphy, and Wesley Cox lost in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament in the last seconds of a game to UCLA with the lone white boy missing free throws and Cox muffing an inbounds pass under their basket, it led to the worst basketball depression of my life, a month of recovery required, something that I vowed never to repeat.

Then came the Doctors of Dunk era led by Darrell Griffith who reached the pinnacle of his basketball career in college. He could leap from beyond the free throw line for a dunk over guys 8 inches taller than he was. Amazing, and I was there in Freedom Hall to see it many times. They won the NCAA tournament in 1980 led by Griffith, the McCrays, but spiritually led by two Georgia young men, Wiley Brown and Derek Smith. So cool, they led the team by communicating in "pig latin" aka "ackbay orday" and other plays that mystified their opponents and made the team laugh. What a time.

Louisville won a title again in 1986 with Billy Thompson, Pervis Ellison, Milt Wagner, and others and while I watched from New York there was not the same identity.
I was still a fan.

I am a fan again this year, whenever they play with the passion, joy, and simple honest swagger of those 1970's days. For tonight, it was a real treat.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Pitino has about ruined the team -- and the game -- for me.

Thank you, John. Your excitement and three-point memories (did they have three pointers back in the '70s?) brought back the thrill.

"Make the World Safe for Dunkocracy!"

11:27 PM  
Anonymous jb said...

Don't think that I mentioned anything about three pointers, unless pig latin was misinterpreted. Guess since Pitino is a New Yorker he is fine with me now. I know nothing about him for real except basketball and these guys are all tainted in some way, but compared to Calipari he is a saint.

12:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Everyone from Louisville, in order to conjure up a common sense of despair, need only say two words:

Terry Howard.

9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

By "three-point memories" I only meant high-scoring and from way far back! your mind, and you, are champs.


10:33 AM  
Anonymous jb said...

You too, you remember. I suggest that you and B stay on Louisville's side this coming weekend. Maybe the game will be decided in the last 15 seconds.

1:47 PM  

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