The Dunk’s Yin to the 3-pointer’s Yang

A wonderful 99% Invisible episode on the height of the basket, how this led to an inbalance in the game through the invention of the dunk (and to some clearly racist reactions) and how the 3-pointer came from the ABA to save the day and open up the game.

This episode is part of a podcast series by ESPN. I am off to listen to more of the ‘Dunkumentaries‘…

There was a political dimension to all of this as well. The dunk was becoming popular at a turbulent time in the country. The Black Panthers were organizing and arming themselves in Oakland and some white Americans were worried a revolution was about to take place. The rise of dunking was seen by some racist critics as a literal manifestation of “Black Power,” embodied in masters of the dunk like Lew Alcindor, who would later change his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. Under pressure from critics of the dunk, the NCAA (National Collegiate Athletic Association) made a decision to ban the dunk in 1967. The NBA (National Basketball Association) did not ban the dunk, but still faced criticism about the slowness of play in the league.

Source: The Yin and Yang of Basketball – 99% Invisible