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Sports Illustrated Account


Could Be the Start of Something Big

by Jack McCallum

Dear Mother and Father,

I am writing from St. Louis, where I have discovered something called basket ball, a relatively new sport that was played here this week in the Olympic Games for the first time, as a demonstration sport. It seems fitting that this basket ball was introduced at the first Olympics ever held within our national borders as the game was apparently invented a few years ago by an imaginative chap in Massachusetts named Naismith. I'm quite sure that Americans can become adept at this sport, as evidenced here by the spirited play of Hiram College of Ohio, which won the gold medal in the collegiate division by beating Wheaton College of Illinois, and then Latter Day Saints University of Salt Lake City. The game has not yet taken hold all over the country--much less outside the United States, which explains why there were no foreign teams competing here--but I can foresee a day when college teams engage in regular interstate competitions, provided, of course, that travel does not exact too much time from academic pursuits.

The basket ball competition offered a splendid respite from the negative aspects of the goings-on in St. Louis these past few weeks, which in my opinion demonstrate that an Olympics should never again be held in conjunction with a World's Fair. Superior athletic endeavors were...

-from the November 29, 1999 issue of Sports Illustrated