You’re off work, kicking back on the couch watching basketball. Life’s good, right?
Well, take a minute to think about Martin Luther King, Jr. Then take a minute and read this story by ESPN’s Mark Adams about “The Secret Game” – what was likely the South’s first integrated basketball game.
Here’s the setup:
In 1944 Durham, N.C., during the days of the Jim Crow laws, John McLendon was the young 28-year-old head coach at the North Carolina College for Negroes. Meanwhile, the Duke Medical School basketball team was a collection of post-graduate All-Americans and All-Stars considered by many to be the best team in the land in 1944 World War II America.
Dick Thistlewaite had been a star at the University of Richmond and played in the post. David Hubbell had played forward at Duke. Homer Sieber had played at Roanoke College. Dick Symmonds was a star at Central Methodist in Missouri. Jack Burgess hailed from Montana and had played for the Grizzlies. Around Durham, Burgess was known for his anti-segregation beliefs. He was a man known for taking action against the prejudice he witnessed.
The North Carolina College Eagles were coming off their most successful season ever at that time. McLendon had just led his team to a 26-1 season. Aubrey Stanley, Henry (Big Dog) Thomas, Floyd (Cootie) Brown and James (Boogie-Woogie) Hardy were the stars on a team that ran McLendon’s fast break with great discipline.
Alas, there’s no video. Still, it’s a nice read.
My question? How has this not been made into a movie by now?
Want more? I’m also on Twitter @MikeMillerNBC.