The Basketball Champs Belt is pleased to welcome history enthusiast and Los Angeles Lakers season ticket holder Fred Cervantez as a TBCB contributor. Fred's YouTube channel hosts early basketball footage and it's a great resource for anyone looking to learn more about the early days of the NBA. You can also follow Fred on Twitter @fmcervantez. In today's first post, Fred shares his thoughts on the importance of learning about the history of the game.
The long and storied history of the NBA remains an enigma to most basketball fans. Baseball fans need not explain themselves while listing Babe Ruth (born 1895) as the greatest player in history; Soccer fanatics almost unanimously regard Pelé (born 1940) as the greatest player in their history; and while discerning the greatest NFL player of all time is more difficult due to the nature of the sport and myriad positions, you will always find Jim Brown (born 1936) near or at the top of the list.
Then there is basketball. The sport was founded in 1891, yet the its history doesn’t begin until nearly 100 years later for many observers. Not until 1980, when Larry Bird and Magic Johnson were drafted, is basketball considered modern. While many sports embrace their early history, basketball history is thrown in a closet. Literally. Until recently, the Los Angeles Lakers that won 5 titles in the late 40’s and early 50’s in Minneapolis had their early trophies locked away in a closest. It wasn’t until early 2002 that the Lakers honored their roots with two banners to commemorate their early players and five titles.
When we ignore players and their accomplishments prior to the modern age, we miss out on some of the most interesting and greatest players the sport has ever seen. We miss the transformation of the sport from the dimly lit smoke-filled rooms to the enormous arenas we go to today and we miss the great innovators that changed the way we play like George Mikan, Bob Cousy, Hank Luisetti, and Tarzan Cooper.
It's important that fans of basketball learn about the true pioneers of the sport. For that reason, I'm excited to say that over the next few months I will be writing for The Basketball Champs Belt. I look forward to helping tell stories that have since been forgotten, and I hope that you all enjoy reading them.
TBCB continues to seek writers to contribute to our coverage of NBA history. Read more here and then contact Michael Hogan at @champsbelt or champsbelt at gmail.com for more information.