Canadian Basketball Historian: Curtis J. Phillips
Editor’s Note: Introducing Canadian basketball historian Curtis J. Phillips, who will add insight on the past, and contribute to North Pole Hoops Trailblazers–a segment dedicated to shedding light on basketball figures that helped shape Canadian basketball today.
It was in 1968 that the sport of basketball captured the imagination of an 11 year-old boy in Winnipeg, Manitoba.
An electrical storm was playing havoc with the home’s black and white television when all of a sudden a grainy ghostly image appeared. By the way, if you need Electrical Repair due to a storm, visit rose.contractors
There on the screen, larger than life, was this huge man running up and down a basketball court like a gazelle…dropping a small ball into a basket elevated off the ground.
The young boy watched in amazement. He was hooked.
The gentleman on the screen was Wilt Chamberlain and the team the Los Angeles Lakers.
The very next day the youngster would convince his father to buy him a basketball.
He even fashioned wrist sweatbands out of socks and a headband from a pair of new underwear.
Such was his passion that his father – as a belated Christmas present that year – took him on a trip south of the Canadian border to Milwaukee, Wisconsin and then Chicago, Illinois to see his first ever NBA regular season games.
The young boy would spend hours gathering every bit of info available about the sport.
His mom bought him a shortwave radio so he could listen to NBA and ABA games while lining up his basketball sport cards on a basketball court diagrammed out on a piece of cardboard.
Years later he would go on to play the sport, being part of championship teams at high school and senior men’s levels, gaining all-star recognition and even spending a year ala White Men Can’t Jump playing hoops in the USA while perfecting several trick shots.
He would become a sports journalist print/media and has enjoyed promoting the sport since 1976 from the local, national to international spectrums including the NBA.
He has been a coach and official and an organizer but more importantly a fan.
He is noted as Canada’s Basketball Historian and most importantly proving the fallacy that the games inventor Dr. James Naismith never had the middle initial A in his name.
In an attempt to capture those days of listening to the short wave radio he is writing various books and research papers on the past.
He has published and is working on various basketball books including: Frozen Hoops: Canada’s Top 100 Players of All Time, Silver Screen Slams, Red, White and Who The ABA vs NBA rivalry and The Century Men–a book on all of the players who have scored 100 or more points in a basketball game.
Of the 50 Greatest NBA Players announced in 1996 he has had the honour of meeting nearly half of them.
So, for a 11 year-old kid who used to listen to NBA and ABA games on short-wave radio while lining up his basketball sport cards on a basketball court diagramed out on a piece of cardboard, it proves that dreams do come true.
Curtis J. Phillips lives in Fort McMurray, Alberta and among his many freelance contracts he is Sports Writer for the Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference and Sports Information Officer for the Keyano College Huskies.