September 5, 2007

It's just the "old" days

There's the good old days...the bad old days...even the old gold days. But sometime the past is just the past. On my television screen is an image that is supposedly a Christmas tree. Keith Jackson's deep-fried tones come in and say "All of us at ABC sports wish you a Merry Christmas for this NBA game." And my world is altered almost immediately. It's 1970 and...

We have the Phoenix Suns
  • Connie Hawkins
  • Paul Silas
  • We're playing in the "Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum"
  • There's apparently a live band somewhere in the stands, with an active drummer

We have the Atlanta Hawks

  • Wearing those Blue and Green uniforms
  • Gopher star Lou Hudson

The NBA was entering an era of "shit." I'm not using that word as a negative assessment of's a direct quote from many a professional basketball player in the coming decade. The ABA will continue to make inroads. The NBA gets swankier. Enforcers will rule the day. Fights-a-plenty.

But forget about that for a moment, and let's take in some Keith quotes from this game.

"You give Maravich room and he'll burn ya."

"Remember, following this ballgame, the North/South Shrine Football CLASSIC at the Orange Bowl."

"Well, just careless." (Keith on a turnover)

"Here's Clem Haskins, who's been a dandy."

"The attendance, 10,136 and they're all yellin' right now."

"Hustlin' Clem Haskins gets the bucket."

Isn't this strange? Actually, it shouldn't be: the announcer doing his job, insight added but not overdone, and you're left to enjoy the game. Who on this earth would televise a pro game THAT way?

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