The world basketball festival (Aug 12-15) is less than a month away. Player appearances, retail pop-up shops and actual on-court action in unprecedented places (Namely Times Square) is on the way, but before all that action attacks Manhattan, the people at Nike, Converse and Brand Jordan wanted to give a everyone a chance to see how all aspects of the game started, how we got here and where the future will take us.
TAG: harlem rens
KNOW YOUR HISTORY: NIKE 133rd & 8th Articles, Community, Converse, Events, Hoops Culture, Jordan, Jordan Brand, News, Nike, Sneakers, The Latest, legends, nba / Jul 22, 2010 / 9:58 pm
“Most people get it wrong. History isn’t about showcasing the differences between us and those who lived before us so that we can feel superior; it’s about revealing the similarities so we can feel gratitude and humility. – Forward written by Quincy Jones in the book: On the Shoulders of Giants.
I grew up in the same projects that Kareem Abdul-Jabbar lived in during his teenage years. Kareem’s importance as a player is obvious as the All-Time Leading Scorer in NBA history but it is his writing talent as a “MC” of African-American history that makes the book published a few years back titled On the Shoulders of Giants a must read. The book is written in the code of African-American communication – one that calls for a response from the crowd it addresses. Sounds like Streetball to me!
Jazz-inspired Kareem developed his famous hook shot from a never-duplicated inspiration that started with James Couch, his first playground coach. Ask him (At 78, still able to display the pristine hook shot form.) one day to shoot a hook shot and see what I mean.
I highlighted Jabbar’s importance in a piece I wrote in Bounce 23 called From the Dotted Line is Whack…?? Kareem’s dominance caused the NCAA to ban the dunk in ‘67 and the energy of the dunk became an after school project playground experiment back in the day. High School players expressed themselves in the air and at the rim after their seasons finished with a new creative style inspired by the R&B and subsequent Disco craze that swept the nation in the ’70s. Dr. J and David Thompson were children of that generation. That all turned into the greatest of all music phenomena – Hip Hop.
The creativity of the sample and scratch was the inspiration for one of the principle GrandMasters of the Air – Michael Jordan. Bounce 23’s article is a tribute to Kareem’s basketball talent and strong jazz background and shows the connection to the subsequent aerial explosion the NBA saw mature into a beast with Air Jordan.
So all you hip hop heads, feel Grandmaster Flash, Grandmaster Caz, DJ Hollywood, Jammaster J and DJ GrandWizard Theodore – men who gave RUN DMC, Jay Z, P. Diddy and the rest a way to eat well – as my inspiration for this article if you press Read More »
Malinda Steele and her daughter Autumn holding up priceless family album photos.
Back in December, I received an email from my childhood next door neighbor Malinda Steele that read, “Bob, I just watched your youtube basketball highlights . . . did you know that my uncle was one of the original Harlem Globetrotters?” Huh?!!!
Malinda and I grew up together on 120 West 97th St. in Manhattan. My family lived in #13I, her and her moms lived in #13J. She quite possibly was the first friend I ever had, dating back to 1970 when we were four years of age. We both appeared in the intro of an early Sesame Street TV episode, both had parents who loved the piano, but almost 40 years later I’m finding out both of our families shared a love for basketball? I was intrigued and invited her to stop by my crib while she was in town with her daughter Autumn visiting her moms for holidays.
“My uncle Bob Dowery ran with the Globetrotter for years,” Malinda shared with me while paging through a decades-old photo album, “and my grandfather ‘Horse’ Steele was a teammate of ‘Pop’ Gates!” Read More »
Mr. John Isaacs chilling at Mr. Couch’s Uptown Express Women’s League in Harlem. I shot this photo in ‘07, and it is now very dear to me. Earlier last week, Mr. John Isaacs (1915-2009), one of the last remaining living members of the original Harlem Rens, passed on at the age of 93 years old. On Saturday, his funeral service was held at the Metro AME Church on 135th St. I’d been wanting to write something about my feelings for days, but I needed to do something first . . .
Today, I walked by the original Harlem Renaissance ballroom on 138th St. and 7th Ave. Once a tremendous structure housing the greatest Jazz legends one could imagine, it now humbly rests as what appears to be an abandoned, unattended building. In the 1930s, it was in these hallowed halls that Mr. John Isaacs cemented his Hall of Fame career. Read More »
Just in from Claude Johnson of www.blackfivesblog.com.
It’s with deep sorrow that I report the passing of former star basketball player and community leader John “Boy Wonder” Isaacs. John passed away this morning at the Albert Einstein Hospital in the Bronx, New York. He had suffered a major stroke last week, from which he never arose. He was 93 years old.
To help honor John, please feel free to leave a comment, share a memory, retell a story, offer a word of inspiration, or leave a parting thought.
The Bounce Familia extends our heartfelt support to Mr. Isaacs’s family. May he rest in peace. Thanks, John.
Just in from Claude Johnson of www.blackfivesblog.com: I regret to report that John “Boy Wonder” Isaacs has suffered what appears to have been a bad stroke, on Friday, according to his daughter, Susan. He’s hospitalized, and has shown some minimal movement of his fingers, and has opened his eyes, and apparently knows that people are talking about him, but is otherwise unresponsive and hasn’t spoken. His family is waiting for the results of some neurological tests. Meanwhile he’s resting in intensive care. Please join me in sending your best wishes and positive thoughts his way.
Everyone here at www.bouncemag.com sends only their most positive energy to Mr. Isaacs, the only remaining member of the Harlem Rens (the first all-black team ever inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame).