Remember When St. Louis Won the NBA Title in 1958?

“We were a mixture of the old and the new, both in experience and style of play. The long jump shot was just catching on in the league and practically none of our players used it.”

Never a Dull Moment with the St. Louis Hawks, 1958

Kerner comes to a basketball game looking, fittingly, likes the best-dressed man in the hall. He leaves looking more like Emmett Kelly, the clown.

Red Auerbach Rates Basketball’s Best Battlers, 1973

It brought back memories of Auerbach’s Celtic battlers of the past, of Russell breaking Jim Krebs’ jaw, of Loscutoff decking Dick Schnittker with one punch, and of Brannum flattening Dolph Schayes.

Red Auerbach: An Old Friend’s Telling You to Hang ‘Em Up, 1979

Heed those words, Red. Sit back, light up a cigar and relax. You don’t need the aggravation anymore.

Bill Sharman: The Shooter, 1965

What made Sharman’s shooting so remarkable was its purity. He shot with almost robot-like precision, his style so polished and precise that it seemed like an illustration for a book on how to play basketball.

Bob Cousy: A Frenchman from Long Island, 1953

Today, Cousy is the hottest thing in basketball, a ballhandler who does unbelievable things with a pair of unbelievably big hands with which he manipulates a basketball as if it were a ping-pong ball.

Slater Martin: A David Cutting Down Goliaths, 1950s

Nobody was ever sure what made Martin great. He was too small to cope with the huge stars of the game, yet he often played them to a standstill.

Clair Bee: The Busiest Bee in Baltimore, 1954

But things have been happening in Baltimore lately. Pro Football came back for another try. Major league baseball returned after an absence of half a century. And a 53-year-old gentleman with squinting eyes and an athlete’s shuffle came to town.