Séoul est à une cinquantaine de kilomètres de la frontière. Ils ne sont même pas obligés de viser juste ! Pierre Rigoulot
I think it’s ridiculous. I think that if you’re going to meet someone with the record on human rights, and nuclear testing in a reckless way, counterfeiting U.S. dollars, and exporting a horrible brand of whatever it is that he’s exporting, starving his people, and locking them up, it should be done only in conjunction with the State Department with an agenda. If not, you shouldn’t go. (…) it was the burden of somebody to try to educate Dennis a little bit so he doesn’t come back and say, ‘the dude is really cool. His father was great. His grandfather was great. And really why doesn’t the President just give him a buzz? David Stern (NBA commissioner)
Le peuple juif a été l’historien, le jurisconsulte, le sage, le poète de l’humanité. Lacordaire
Y a-t-il une chose que les sionistes n’aient pas inventé ?
Alors que malgré les énièmes annonces de sanctions le dernier goulag à ciel ouvert continue, avec le soutien cynique de la Chine, à martyriser et affamer sa population et s’est remis à menacer le monde …
Pendant que, dans nos chaumières, on joue à légender la photo du tortionnaire …
Retour, en ces jours où nos amis juifs commémorent leur expulsion des goulags égyptiens, sur l’homme qui, inventant au passage le tir à trois points, lança le basket ball noir …
A savoir le juif américain Abraham (Abe) Saperstein …
You’re born in England where they hardly play the sport. You’re Jewish. You’re just north of five feet tall. Chances are you’re not going to make it into the basketball Hall of Fame. Yet Abe Saperstein, who was all these things, did just that. Saperstein saw a chance and he took it. In so doing, the unlikely hall of famer changed basketball forever.
Saperstein was born in London in 1902. When Abe was six, his father moved the family to America and opened a tailor shop in a mainly Irish and German neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side. The Sapersteins were the only Jewish family in the area. Young Saperstein threw himself into sports, running track and playing baseball and basketball through high school. By the time he reached college, however, his lack of height caught up with him. He was considered too short to play in basketball at the University of Illinois, and failed to make the team.
Saperstein dropped out of college and started work as a playground supervisor for the Chicago public parks system. He was assigned a job at a small park on the predominantly African-American South Side of Chicago. Ever the sport fan, Saperstein would watch basketball games in the park. Impressed by what he saw, he had an idea. Saperstein would assemble a great basketball team from the black community.
It was 1926. Basketball was a relatively new sport without a clearly defined niche. Exhibition games were often used to promote other events, a warm-up for the main attraction. Saperstein took an interest in a team of black basketball players named the Savoy Big Five, who played before dances at the Savoy dancehall in Chicago. When they didn’t attract enough people to the club, and were replaced by roller-skating after a month, Saperstein had a plan.
He was going to form an all-black team that would wow the crowds. His team would be the main event. To achieve this, Saperstein appreciated the power of branding. He believed that an out of state team would hold more allure. He figured nowhere was more glamorous than New York City. So Saperstein asked his tailor father to design uniforms with « New York » on the front, and a new team was born.
On January 7, 1927, Saperstein’s new team played its first game in Hinckley, Illinois. They won—as they would 100 of their first 106 games. Yet despite the team’s abundant talent, Saperstein noticed that Midwestern audiences were more intrigued by the players’ skin color than their skills. It was the first time that many in the crowd had seen a black person. Again, Saperstein saw a chance. He decided to use this curiosity to his team’s advantage and to rename the team to clearly advertise the players as black. Nowhere was more famously black than Harlem, so Harlem it was. Keen to suggest that the team was world-famous and toured widely, Saperstein added “Globetrotters.”
The team’s early years were anything but glamorous. Saperstein would drive all five players from game to game in his Model T. He served as the team’s manager, coach, chauffeur and substitute. In the 1920’s, the team earned approximately $25 a game, which Saperstein split seven ways. Each of the five players received one seventh, and he received two sevenths. The team played seven nights a week to earn enough to survive, driving around the Midwest to play anyone and anywhere they could.
The Globetrotters were itinerant workers, a cross between Lenny and George from “Of Mice and Men” and a struggling college band on a self-financed tour. They played lumberjacks in British Columbia and farmers in Iowa. And they almost always won. By 1934, they had won over 1,000 games. But the team didn’t just beat their opponents on points; they played a whole different style of basketball. The white teams played a stricter, more structured game. Globetrotter basketball was more like jazz—a freer game, where structure was simply a start point from which to improvise.
Although this was the jazz age, it was also the days of the Jim Crow laws. The team faced racism on a daily basis. Children would rub their skin to see if the color would come off. Racist laws enforced strict separation: the players were barred from eating at certain restaurants and sleeping at “white” hotels. Once, when the team played in a Nebraska town that only had “white hotels” the team had to sleep in the county jail.
It is unclear how forcefully Saperstein fought against discrimination on behalf of his black players. It is clear that he was not always popular with the team. In 1939, four players refused to play unless they received more of a say in team affairs; they accused Saperstein of being paternalistic. Rather than accede to their demands, he cut the players and replaced them with four rookies. Saperstein made it clear he was in charge.
On the court, however, the team was in control. Once they had assumed a big enough lead, the players would showboat. They would perform moves that many opposition players—never mind fans—had never seen before. They’d spin the ball on their fingers, run it down their arms, and pass it through their legs. Often, the crowd would respond with laughter. It seemed that white audiences would accept a black team if it was comedic.
By the early 1940’s, the team had moved on from small town arenas and was playing against other professional teams before larger audiences. They would often play against other ethnic teams, such as the New York Celtics. By the mid-1940’s, professional basketball leagues were established. The NBA was born in 1949 but it too was segregated. Black players were ghettoized to Negro leagues, as was the case in baseball. The rationale was that white people had their places to eat, sleep and play and black people had theirs. Meanwhile, the Globetrotters, who would play anywhere that would have them, had become one of the best-known sports teams in America.
As basketball grew in popularity, Saperstein realized there was great interest in how the Globetrotters would fare against an established, professional white team. So in 1948 he challenged the world-champion Minneapolis Lakers to a one-game, winner-takes-all contest. The two teams were evenly matched. In the final seconds with the scores tied, a Globetrotter made a 20-foot basket to decide the game. The team had proved it could compete against any other.
The team beat the Lakers again in a rematch in Chicago in 1949. By this time, the color barrier was being challenged. In 1947, Jackie Robinson had broken baseball’s color line. And in 1950, Earl Loyd became the first black man played in the NBA. A few days later, former Globetrotter Nat Clifton appeared for the New York Knicks. Clifton was the first black player to sign an NBA contract.
Clifton’s departure showed how basketball was changing. It also shed light on tension among the Globetrotters. Clifton had grown frustrated with Saperstein’s treatment, especially when he learned Saperstein was paying a team of touring white college all-stars more than his own Globetrotters. As there was gradual integration of black players into the NBA, there was more money to be made than Saperstein was offering. When the Knicks bought out Clifton’s contract, Saperstein claimed to take half of the $5,000 fee; later, however, Clifton learned that the Knicks paid $20,000. Saperstein was an uncompromising businessman. He may have wanted to do the right thing, but he wanted to get paid for it.
As basketball grew in popularity, so did the Globetrotters. They featured in movies screened around the world. The team achieved worldwide fame and in 1952, launched an international tour. The Globetrotters lived up to their name, travelling 52,000 miles in five months. They became a symbol of America, and the State Department named them “ambassadors of goodwill.”
Saperstein continued to have tense relationships with some of his players. In the mid-1950’s he lost two of the team’s biggest stars: Marques Haynes and Goose Tatum, who set up their own team. Saperstein failed to sign future hall of famer Bill Russell because he wouldn’t discuss contract terms with the black player instead of his white coach. But he did sign the legendary Wilt Chamberlain, who declared his year with the team was the most fun he had playing before he too left to join the NBA.
As the NBA grew and became more open to black players, the Globetrotters had to adapt. The team was no longer the refuge for disenfranchised black players; they could play in the NBA. Instead, its focus shifted toward comedy. Still, Saperstein took his role as coach seriously. He remained courtside into his 60’s having devoted his life to making the Harlem Globetrotters the best, and the best-known, basketball show on earth. When, in 1966, he died of a heart attack at the age of 63 he had achieved just that. By helping to break down doors, Abe Saperstein had as big an influence on the game of basketball as any other man in its history. He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1971.
The NY Times
May 06, 2008
Whenever a three-point basket brings a crowd to its feet or swings the momentum in a basketball game, Bill Sharman remembers an old friend.
Abe Saperstein, an energetic promoter best remembered as the founder of the Harlem Globetrotters, introduced the three-point shot to professional basketball as founder of the short-lived American Basketball League, which launched in 1961, crowned only one champion and lasted barely 1 1/2 seasons.
Saperstein, however, did not unveil the innovation that would revolutionize the sport, Sharman says, until first consulting with Sharman and eliciting an enthusiastic thumbs up from the former USC and Boston Celtics star, one of the NBA’s first great shooting guards and an unflinching proponent.
« I thought it was great because I was an outside shooter, » the 81-year-old former Lakers coach said during an interview at his home in Redondo Beach. « He thought it was going to be as popular as the home run. »
Saperstein and Sharman first met when the USC All-American played for a college all-star team that toured with the Globetrotters after the 1949-50 season.
Their friendship grew during Sharman’s 11-year NBA career, when NBA teams and the Globetrotters often paired for attendance-boosting doubleheaders and, in the last half of Sharman’s career, the Celtics were the NBA’s best team.
« We were close, » Sharman said.
So Sharman heard all about it when Saperstein was denied an NBA franchise in Los Angeles, as he believed he’d been promised after helping prop up the league, and owner Bob Short instead moved the Lakers from Minneapolis.
An angry Saperstein reacted by starting his own league, enlisting help from a group of others that included a young George Steinbrenner, owner of the Amateur Athletic Union national champion Cleveland Pipers.
Sharman, an eight-time NBA All-Star who retired as a player after the 1960-61 season, was hired to coach the ABL’s Los Angeles Jets.
Saperstein told him about his plan for a three-point shot.
« He wanted to call it the 25-foot home run, » Sharman said. « He was such a great promoter. He said, ‘When the fans see this, they’ll think it’s one of the best things in basketball.’ And I think he might be right. It’s one of the most fun. »
Sharman, though, told him 25 feet was too far out.
« It’s farther than it looks, » said Sharman, who joined Saperstein in a gym and, after attempting a number of shots from that distance, suggested the three-point arc be painted 25 feet from the back of the rim, rather than the front.
The compromise, Sharman says, put the arc at about the same distance from the basket as it is in the NBA today: 23 feet 9 inches, 22 feet in the corners.
As a coach, Sharman was quick to embrace the shot.
« I didn’t emphasize it that much, » he says, « but I told the players, ‘If you have time to really get set, take it.’ I would say we had two or three plays where we’d set a double pick with a man coming behind it, hoping he would have more time to get set because it’s not a shot you can rush. »
Midway through the season, however, the Jets folded. In Cleveland, where Steinbrenner had made John McClendon the first African American coach of a major pro basketball team, McClendon stepped aside, citing owner meddling. Sharman replaced McClendon and the Pipers won the championship, winning the deciding game, appropriately enough, on a three-point basket by John Barnhill.
Less than a year later, the ABL was gone. The Eastern Professional Basketball League adopted the three-point shot in its 1964-65 season and the success of the American Basketball Assn., which launched in 1967, popularized it.
The NBA, though, didn’t adopt the three-pointer until 1979.
« The NBA didn’t want to promote anything the ABA had done, » Sharman said. « They didn’t want to look like copycats. »
After the ABL, Sharman coached two seasons at Cal State Los Angeles without the three-point shot, which was briefly tested in college basketball as early as 1945 but wasn’t added permanently until 1986, and two with the NBA’s San Francisco Warriors before coaching in the ABA, where he was reintroduced to the three.
« I really thought it added to the game, » he said. « I didn’t feel like I was in a position to push for it, but I sure would give my opinion if anyone asked. »
Saperstein died in 1966, but his innovation lives on.
Nearly 45,000 three-point shots were attempted in NBA games this season, an average of about 36 a game and almost 40,000 more than were put up in the 1979-80 season, when the rule was adopted. About 13 a game were successful.
« It’s like a magnet out there, » the Lakers’ Jordan Farmar says of the three-point arc. « You know you’re a good shooter, so you want to be rewarded. »
Farmar, who launched more three-pointers than any Laker other than Kobe Bryant this season, says the long-range shots are counterintuitive to fundamental basketball — « The closer you get to the hole, the higher the percentages » — but acknowledges that they’re a « valuable weapon. »
And, as Saperstein predicted, fans love them.
« I’m sure the game would have survived without three-point shots, » Sharman says. « But it wouldn’t be as popular, nor would the games be as exciting. »