Cages to Jump Shots: Pro Basketball's Early Years

Robert W. Peterson, Author Oxford University Press, USA $19.95 (240p) ISBN 978-0-19-505310-4
Peterson, author of Only the Ball Was White , triumphs again with this history of the hoop game from its origins in 1891 to 1954, when the 24-second shot clock was introduced. Even those who are not fans of the sport will delight in Peterson's accounts of early games featuring 40 players on each side and the wild fights to recover out-of-bounds balls which led to the setting up of wire or rope cages all around the court. The book offers sidelights on the game as it developed: the gradually increasing importance of players' height (many of the early pros weren't even 510), the influx of Jewish players during the Depression years and the rise of the Harlem Globetrotters to counter Jim Crow on the courts. Newspapers and magazines of the 1891-1910 era barely mentioned the sport, and Peterson has done admirable work in ferreting out information. Photos not seen by PW. (Oct.)
Reviewed on: 10/01/1990
Release date: 10/01/1990
Paperback - 240 pages - 978-0-19-507261-7
Paperback - 226 pages - 978-0-8032-8772-3
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