Today basketball is played “above the rim” by athletes of all backgrounds and colors. But 50 years ago it was a floor-bound game, and the opportunities it offered for African-Americans were severely limited.
A key turning point was 1963, when the Loyola Ramblers of Chicago took the NCAA men’s basketball title from Cincinnati, the two-time defending champions. It was one of Chicago’s most memorable sports victories, but Ramblers reveals it was also a game for the history books because of the transgressive lineups fielded by both teams.
Ramblers is an entertaining, detail-rich look back at the unlikely circumstances that led to Loyola’s historic championship and the stories of two Loyola opponents: Cincinnati and Mississippi State. Michael Lenehan’s narrative masterfully intertwines these stories in dramatic fashion, culminating with the tournament’s final game, a come-from-behind overtime upset that featured two buzzer-beating shots.
While on the surface this is a book about basketball, it goes deeper to illuminate how sport in America both typifies and drives change in the broader culture. The stark social realities of the times are brought vividly to life in Lenehan’s telling, illustrating the challenges faced in teams’ efforts simply to play their game against the worthiest opponents.
|Product dimensions:||6.10(w) x 8.90(h) x 1.00(d)|
About the Author
Michael Lenehan is an award-winning journalist who was the longtime chief editorial executive of the Chicago Reader and a contributing editor of The Atlantic. He is a board member of the Association for Alternative Newsweeklies and the Medill School of Journalism's advisory board.
Table of Contents
Prelude: Louisville, March 23, 1963 / 15 Down 17
Part 1 Beginnings
Chapter 1 Chicago / Coach on a Flagpole 23
Chapter 2 Mississippi / We were led to believe there were no Negroes 31
Chapter 3 Cincinnati / The Best Basketball Player in the World 35
Chapter 4 Chicago / Out-of-Town Talent 41
Chapter 5 New York-Chicago / Hungry Young Men 49
Chapter 6 Mississippi / A Big-Time Major Mistake 61
Chapter 7 Chicago / Stranger in the Heartland 65
Chapter 8 Cincinnati / Life Without Oscar 71
Chapter 9 Nashville-Chicago / Fast Break Basketball 79
Chapter 10 Chicago / Four Fab Freshmen 95
Chapter 11 Cincinnati / Jucker's Surprise 111
Chapter 12 Mississippi / Is there anything wrong with five white boys winning the national championship? 117
Interlude: Louisville, March 23, 1963 / Keep Shooting 123
Part 2 Collision Course
Chapter 13 Chicago / Off-Court Adjustments 131
Chapter 14 Cincinnati / Defending National Champions 137
Chapter 15 Chicago / Racial Peace Prevails 145
Chapter 16 Cincinnati / Two Flukes in a Row 157
Chapter 17 Mississippi / Civil War Redux 161
Chapter 18 Chicago / Collision Course 175
Chapter 19 Chicago / Four Blacks and an Albino 185
Chapter 20 Mississippi / Come Hell or High Water 193
Chapter 21 Chicago / The Greatest Fast-Break Team Ever 205
Chapter 22 Mississippi / Cloak and Dagger 211
Chapter 23 East Lansing / This is history 217
Chapter 24 Louisville / The Final Four 227
Overtime: Louisville, March 23, 1963 233
Part 3 Postgame
Chapter 25 Dancing in the Streets 239
Chapter 26 The Future of Basketball 243
Chapter 27 The Man 253
Chapter 28 Afterward 265
Notes and Sources 283
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