Friday, September 18, 2015

R.I.P. Malone and Dawkins, the "two original prophets of justice about the sham amateurism of NCAA basketball."

There was a time when I regularly won bar bets with this question: "Who are the only three NBA players to turn pro out of high school?"

Yes, it was a very long time ago.

Usually they'd get two of three; Moses Malone and Darryl Dawkins, eulogized below. The name of the third is contained therein, and you'll have to read Zirin's thoughtful article to learn it.

Two passage: First the lead, then an excellent point.

The Prophets: On the Conjoined Legacies of Moses Malone and ‘Chocolate Thunder’, by Dave Zirin (The Nation)

Following both the first week of the NFL regular season and a historic US Open tennis finals, it’s understandable why one would not want to read a column about death. But it is difficult to think of little else after the sudden passing of NBA legend Moses Malone, whose end at the age of 60 comes just two weeks after fellow center and Philadelphia 76ers alumnus Darryl Dawkins died at 58. One of Dawkins’s most famous maxims–and the man known as “Chocolate Thunder” had many–was, “When everything is said and done, there is nothing left to do or say.” With all due respect, I disagree. When it comes to the linked legacy of Dawkins and Malone, there is still a great deal to say.

Here's the backboard-shattering slam dunk.

But Malone and Dawkins of course share something else besides their uncommon abilities to connect with others. They are also the two original prophets of justice about the sham amateurism of NCAA basketball. Long before the rest of us had figured it out, long before it was of a fashion to point aghast at college sports, long before coaches made multimillion-dollar salaries, long before the NCAA signed multibillion-dollar contracts with cable networks—hell, long before there was such a thing as cable—these two men saw the worth and value of their own labor and they refused to be exploited.

1 comment:

Randy Smith said...

Went to college with a guy who used to play H.S. ball with Moses Malone and who actually dominated him, briefly. Butler H.S. in Alabama. And I met K.G. on the last day of his first NBA season, under strange circumstances.