Today is the 100th anniversary of the first inter-city game between two African American basketball teams.
When the Smart Set Athletic Club of Brooklyn played the Crescent Athletic Club of Washington, D.C. on December 18, 1908, it was “the first athletic contest between colored athletes” of those or any other two cities.
Brooklyn won the game.
The Smart Set also won the 1908-09 Colored Basketball World’s Championship, their second title in a row.
In those days, every basketball game was followed by a party, hosted by the home team.
So this game became an opportunity for the players on both teams to learn what was going on culturally, socially, politically, and economically in the black communities of New York and Washington, D.C., respectively.
For most of the players it was the first time they had ever even met African Americans who were living in another city.
Remember, they didn’t have airplanes, cell phones, internet, television, or radio. Most long distance communication was done by telegram.
These men considered it an honor to be part of such a meaningful event. They were indeed part of something bigger. This event, and those that followed, had meaning and significance in the broader context of race pride not just for survival but for ongoing development and growth.
In other words, basketball was a drumbeat.
Looking at basketball today, has the importance of camaraderie between teams diminished?
Why do you think that is?
Do players make the time to fraternize with their opponents from another town or city after a game?
Why? Or, why not?
Do team officials encourage that practice, or discourage it?
Why? Or, why not?
I’d like to hear from you on this. Especially current or former athletes at whatever level.