Why Basketball’s Greatest Decade was the 1960s

1960s: Days of Rage

Lew Alcindor at Power Memorial, NYC

“The ’60s was clearly the best era. Why? Only 9 teams in a nation of basketball players. If you drove thru every suburb, there was a hoop in EVERY driveway. Society put endless pressure on any kid who was over 6 feet tall. I know; I was 6’3 at 13 years old and was talked out of tennis. A game that sports three seven-footers in today’s ATP. The black players dominated playgrounds because they couldn’t get into the NBA. With the constant downward pressure of Jim Crow combined with the simple law of supply and demand because of only nine teams, this pressure contributed to forming the hardest diamonds ever made. Four black diamonds and two white diamonds. Russel, Wilt, Elgin, Oscar, Jerry, Pettit. This is why the Harlem Globetrotters were formed and why the Rucker and other talent-laden tournaments of that ilk popped…

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