The coolest stories of all happen in real life.
As a new-ish Kansan, I’m gradually learning about all the interesting history of my adopted home state, the sorts of things I would have picked up via osmosis or in school, had I grown up here. I always knew Kansas had a reputation for excellent college basketball teams, and they love their hoops with an intensity perhaps rivaled only by the denizens of the Hoosier State, but I had no idea how old and deep the roots of this sport run beneath our prairie soil.
It seems that Dr. James Naismith, the inventor of basketball, made his way from New England to a seat on the University of Kansas faculty as the Director of Physical Education. In 1933, he became friend and mentor to a young student named John B. McLendon Jr, the first black student admitted to the Physical Education program at KU. McLendon would go on to be hailed as the “father of black basketball” and creator of now-fundamental tactics such as the fast break and full-court press.
Eric Angevine tells the story of McLendon and Naismith in an inspiring article titled, “Everybody Into the Pool.” It’s a case study in the power of friendship and smart, principled, assertive action to change an unjust system for the better—at a time when racial segregation and prejudice were taken for granted. And it all started with a swimming pool.
Read the story. You’ll be glad you did.
I found this article courtesy of Glenn Reynolds’ blog, Instapundit, which I’ve found an invaluable summary of news and political commentary from all over, with a generous helping of links to new developments in the world of science and technology. Mr. Angevine’s article was published at the independent sports website, The Classical, which looks pretty cool on its own merits.