Louisville wins, old times revisited
Living in Louisville both during the Bridgman/Cox/Murphy era of the mid '70's and the Doctors of Dunk era of the late '70's was the most intense vicarious basketball experience of my life. When the 1975 team that included Junior Bridgman, Alan Murphy, and Wesley Cox lost in the semi-finals of the NCAA tournament in the last seconds of a game to UCLA with the lone white boy missing free throws and Cox muffing an inbounds pass under their basket, it led to the worst basketball depression of my life, a month of recovery required, something that I vowed never to repeat.
Then came the Doctors of Dunk era led by Darrell Griffith who reached the pinnacle of his basketball career in college. He could leap from beyond the free throw line for a dunk over guys 8 inches taller than he was. Amazing, and I was there in Freedom Hall to see it many times. They won the NCAA tournament in 1980 led by Griffith, the McCrays, but spiritually led by two Georgia young men, Wiley Brown and Derek Smith. So cool, they led the team by communicating in "pig latin" aka "ackbay orday" and other plays that mystified their opponents and made the team laugh. What a time.
Louisville won a title again in 1986 with Billy Thompson, Pervis Ellison, Milt Wagner, and others and while I watched from New York there was not the same identity.
I was still a fan.
I am a fan again this year, whenever they play with the passion, joy, and simple honest swagger of those 1970's days. For tonight, it was a real treat.