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Basketball and Its Greatest Players (Inside Sports) by Sherman Hollar

By Sherman Hollar

Drawing crowds for its screens of either uncooked athleticism and astonishing showmanship, basketball has turn into probably the most interesting spectator activities within the usa, in addition to the area. gamers popular for his or her maneuverability and skill—“Air” Jordan and his vintage acrobatic strikes, for instance—have intensified the extent of pageant in specialist leagues and encouraged daily fanatics to “shoot hoops” in pleasant video games. This enticing quantity examines the background and evolution of basketball and a few of its such a lot influential gamers.

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Sample text

War Relic displayed cherubic behavior, grabbed the lead out of the gate, and never relinquished it, winning with consummate ease. “Next time he runs,” Luther told his wife, Helen, “bet a hundred dollars. ” Helen did as her husband asked, then sat in the stands on race day, terrified and praying. War Relic rocketed to the lead, held it around the track, and flew into the homestretch all alone. Luther thought his $100 bet was going to cash in. But War Relic had been an angel for exactly one and three quarter races, and he was pushing his limits.

When the cash ran out, he’d work on them until they had staked practically everything they owned, right down to their horse blankets. Irwin’s horses almost always won, and Irwin would clean out the locals, pack the horses back on the trains, and leave. “Irwin would put a guy out,” remembered Hall of Fame trainer Jimmy Jones, who cut his teeth running horses against Irwin’s. “The minute [a man] got any money, Irwin would rob him of it. ” This was a rough life for man and beast. For a wage of about $60 a month, Smith slept and ate in horse stalls and struggled to keep up with the farriery needs of fifty-four horses.

But it was the purse that stopped traffic. In 1934 American marquee races carried a net value to the winner of between $6,000, and, in rare cases, $50,000. In contrast, Strub’s purse was staggering: $100,000, plus a few thousand dollars in entry revenue, to the winner. It was the biggest purse in the world. Offered in a year in which the average per capita income in the United States was $432, Strub’s purse caused a national sensation. qxd 4/12/01 10:40 AM Page 17 SEABISCUIT ■ 17 hardly anyone referred to the race by its actual name.

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