By Anthony McClean, Editor In Chief Emeritus NEW HAVEN (BASN) —...
BASN Classic BlackBox: Remembering Ray Crowe
Last Updated:May 2, 2007 REMEMBERING RAY CROWE
MOVIE THAT TELLS IT ALL
What is most important
about this “new” movie
filmed in 2002 but
only now being
Is that it tells the story of Coach Ray Crowe far more than his most gifted and famous player Oscar Robertson. This is another of those true stories that deserve Legendary status within and beyond the African American community.
If you want to squeeze the story and Coach Crowe into a “sound bite” it is this Ray Crowe created the modern sport of Basketball. As is always the case with powerful breakthroughs what becomes common place and seems oh so obvious for the longest time was not when first experienced.
Until Crowe came along with his Crispus Attucks of Indianapolis – the high school and the team he coached – until 1955 basketball was characterized since its birth at the turn of the century as a slow moving even plodding low scoring game in which monotonous dribbling and passing was far more common than scoring.
Although it might not have seemed obvious at the time but is Crystal Clear now, basketball had always been played that way, because it was well suited for White Boys, their style and skills. It was so ingrained in the Sport that predominantly, mostly all Black teams were expected to play the same way and did.
Until Ray Crowe came along
with his Crispus Attucks
and broke the “rules”
Now understand the significance of Crow and the Crispus Attucks. There impact was not just on high school basketball. But ALL basketball. The same White Ball was played in College and at that time the rather insignificant pro basketball level. Crowe’s Revolution resonated throughout every level of the game from the school yard to the biggest colleges. Even more to the point it is responsible for African Americans becoming sought after and dominating the Sport today.
Basically Crowe FREED Basketball from completely artificial constraints, culture based restrictions that in no way reflect the potential of the game or players.
As noted it could have happened sooner but NO White Coach had any incentive to break the “code” that worked so well for them and before Crowe NO Black coach was brave enough to start a “revolution.”
Once Coach Crowe unleashed his players’ natural talents and the true inherent pace of the game EVERYTHING changed forever in Basketball, Changed even more because it was the African American teams who found “fast” paced basketball a natural way to play and getting to the basket to score points their strength, while it took a long time for White Teams to abandon their plodding style of play, and even once they did they were often no match anyway.
Ray Crowe’s Crispus Attucks won the Indiana State Championship in rapid order in 1955 and 1956 with their NEW Basketball. The first Black team EVER to win a State Basketball Championship anywhere in these United States.
But Crowe’s most dramatic moment, his greatest achievement in Basketball history did not involve him directly nor any team he ever coached. Regardless Coach Crowe and his revolutionary breakthrough is directly credited with arguably the Greatest Moment in the History of Basketball.
Ray Crowe’s Revolution reached its Crowning Glory 10 years later in 1966 when the University of Texas-El Paso stunned the Sports World when their basketball team with an ALL African American Starting Team won what was then the most prestigious title in sports the NCAA Basketball Championship.
What must be added about Ray Crowe and his historic success is that it was far more than simply a fast, action paced higher scoring form of Basketball. That style of play was based on a foundation Crowe considered the very core of his form of Basketball. He infused discipline in his players. He emphasized the importance of their school work to their basketball. He created in his players an understanding of physical fitness, an appreciation for rules and the most of all the towering importance of teamwork in producing Victory.
Ray Crowe died in 2003
but this film opening now
( also available on DVD )
” Something To Cheer About ”
a straight forward documentary
captures much of Ray Crowe
who he was what he believed
how he won is all right here
Go see it or bring it home
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LATE GREAT RAY CROWE