thanks for the link!
hey kizz: were any of these guys (from lebowski's link) black?
In 1944, in the third quarter of a see-saw battle between the two Minnesota Iron Range towns of Brainerd and Bemidji, guard Myer "Whitey" Skoog of Brainerd leaped instinctively to put up a shot over Bemidji's towering center. It was five years before he dared shoot the bizarre shot again, as an All American with the University of Minnesota. The shot eventually took him all the way to the old Minneapolis Lakers and several world championships.
John "Mouse" Gonzales, a lightweight basketball player from Lowell High in San Francisco, threw up his first jump shot in the old Japanese YMCA on Buchanan Street in San Francisco one night in October of 1942. Gonzales, who later changed his name to Burton, eventually played for San Francisco State University. San Francisco old timers, including former Bear coaches Rene Herrerias and Pete Newell, insist he was the first jump shooter on the West Coast.
Bud Palmer, a gangling and skinny 6'4" forward at Phillips-Exeter Academy in New England, began experimenting with his jump shot in 1939 in the same gym John Knowles made famous in his novel A Separate Peace. The shot became Palmer's trademark at Princeton, and later with the world champion New York Knicks. Not even Palmer's later career as a network sports announcer would match his jump-shot contribution to basketball.
His full name was Davage "Dave" Minor, but Gary, Indiana sportswriters called him "The Wheelhorse of Steel City." He began shooting the first jumpers seen around the Great Lakes in December of 1937 in his high school gym in Gary. By 1941, the shot was so unstoppable he used it to take the Froebel High School Blue Devils all the way to the Final Four of the Indiana State Tournament, the mother of them all. Eventually, he starred with the old Oakland Bittners of the AAU, and he was one of the first blacks signed in the NBA.
Jumpin' Joe Fulks came from the tiny town of Birmingham along the Tennessee River in western Kentucky in the 1930s. Now submerged beneath the waters of Kentucky Lake, the town was the site of Fulks's earliest jump shots using a discarded basketball filled with sawdust. That shot lifted him from Kentucky obscurity to world fame as a high-scoring Philadelphia Warrior in the late '40s. He held the NBA's single game scoring record of 63 points for a decade before Elgin Baylor broke it with a 73 point night, and then Wilt Chamberlain produced his 100 point miracle. The so-called "Babe Ruth of Basketball," Fulks was haunted all his life by alcoholism, which led to his murder in Kentucky in 1976. Because of the difficulties of his life and his tragic death, he is the most forgotten sports legend of our time.
Johnny Adams came out of Depression-era, share-cropping poverty, yet his first flat jump shots--in 1935 in a cracker-box gym with a low ceiling in Beebe, Arkansas--led to his recruitment by the Arkansas Razorbacks and an eventual appearance in the 1941 NCAA Final Four. "Who was the first jump shooter?" sportscaster Curt Gowdy asks. "Coaches, broadcasters--every year at the Final Four, we stand around and argue about it." Gowdy played against Johnny Adams in the 1941 NCAA tournament, and he insists, "It was Johnny Adams."
Belus Van Smawley came from the Appalachian foothills in western North Carolina. When Belus was 13, his father bought a small farm two miles south of the village of Ellenboro, a half mile from an abandoned railroad depot along the old Southern Line. In that abandoned depot, the young boys of Ellenboro improvised a peach-basket gym to play in during inclement weather, and in the fall of 1934, Belus used his incredible jumping ability--developed by leaping up to touch high tree limbs while on his farm chores--to improvise a shot that no one had ever seen before. Off a dribble, he would stop suddenly, then with his back half to the basket leap high into the air, twisting himself to face the basket as he rose. It was a shot that would eventually make Belus Smawley one of the stars of the early NBA.