Just started Gary Pomerantz's Wilt, 1962: The Night of 100 Points and the Dawn of a New Era (same guy who wrote The Last Pass, the Cousy-Russell book). As a baseball fan, the history of which stretches back to the 1800s, found this amazing: when the NBA selected its 50 Greatest Players Ever in 1996, they were all alive except Pete Maravich. When Chamberlain died in 1999, that was only the second death among the 50.
― clemenza, Friday, 2 April 2021 14:49 (nine months ago) link
I liked it when I read it a long time ago. I think of the pre-Russell era as "the early NBA" and Russell's career as sort of the "classical NBA" and that NBA 50 team barely had any early NBA players on it because everyone agreed that the players who came after were so much better. Lots of them have died in the last 20 years, but Cousy, Russell, Pettit, and Sam Jones are still alive. I remember that book having an interesting section about Paul Arizin, who I hadn't known anything about, but who won a couple scoring titles in the '50s and sort of bridged the eras.
― circles, Saturday, 3 April 2021 00:44 (nine months ago) link
"Because everyone agreed that the players who came after were so much better" might be the biggest difference; there's this thing with baseball that Ty Cobb and Cy Young and Tris Speaker are still put near the front of the line 100 years after they played.
Haven't gotten to the Arizin section yet, but my favourite thing so far is the guy Evo (no last name given) who was the there for the 100-point game. He'd previously attended one baseball game in his life, which he found really boring and never went to another: Don Larsen's perfect game.
― clemenza, Saturday, 3 April 2021 15:23 (nine months ago) link
Evo Ionni was his name--he died in 2012.
He also played golf with Sam Snead!
― clemenza, Saturday, 3 April 2021 19:54 (nine months ago) link