THE QUESTION: Do you think that old-time, low-scoring basketball—before Hank Luisetti popularized the one-hand jump shot—was a better and more interesting game than it is today?

December 09, 1957

JOAN CRAWFORD
West Los Angeles
Movie Star
No. From the spectator's point of view, today's game is much better, although much harder on the players. It particularly appeals to young boys the ages of my children. Any sport that appeals as strongly to spectators as basketball does today will be a success, but it must be full of action.

JOE LAPCHICK
Basketball coach
St. John's University
New York
Equally so. I was the tallest player, 6 feet 5 inches, with the original Celtics, a team so strong that it was broken up by the league itself, in 1927. We played a tight possession game with tremendous emphasis on defense. When we were on tour, fans came hundreds of miles to see us play.

MEL HUTCHINS
New York
Knickerbockers
It's a much harder game, but we like it better because the spectators like it better. Let's face it. We play for the fans. The old game was set and shoot or shoot and run. I wouldn't blame the fans for booing if we tried that today. They won't take anything less than the best.

BOB COUSY
Boston Celtics
Today's game is better for the spectators. I like it better too, because I've always enjoyed a fast running game. It's true that the high scores seem strange to oldtimers, but that doesn't mean that we're short on team work or defense. The bigger men in the game have stepped up the offense.

JERRY BERNS
Partner-Owner of Jack and Charlie's "21"
New York City
Yes. Overofficiating has taken the defense out of basketball. The game has changed into a contest of basket shooting—you shoot and then I shoot. The team with the most accurate shooters usually wins. The only defense against the jump shot is considered a foul by the officials.

ED HICKEY
St. Louis University
Past president Natl. Assn.
Basketball Coaches
Yes. I favor more conservative offensive play. Our offense is built on control and we are definitely opposed to a helter-skelter type of play. One of the most serious objections to today's game is the emphasis on height, which often means a run-and-shoot, shoot-and-run game, to which I am opposed.

HANK LUISETTI
San Francisco
Chevrolet dealer
No. The kids today are better shooters. Instead of two or three sharpshooters, all five are good, but I don't like the bonus shot on personal fouls. Eliminating it would cut 20 points off the score. Incidentally, I didn't invent the jump shot; I just did a lot of one-hand shooting.

PAUL ARIZIN
Philadelphia Warriors
I like this game fine. Can you imagine what would happen if all of a sudden we went back to the old style of play? The action would be so much slower that it would be almost boring for the fans, and our crowds would be cut in half. Sure it's harder on the players. So what? We like it.

FRED J. BOWMAN
President, Wilson
Sporting Goods Co.
River Grove, Ill.
No, although it did feature more team work, particularly in the offensive patterns. Hank Iba of Oklahoma A&M, one of the nation's most successful coaches, still teaches old-style basketball. However, today's spectacular scoring, brilliant passing and Speed appeals more to the spectator.

PAT HARMON
Sports editor
Cincinnati Post
No. Back in the old days basketball didn't draw good crowds. The crowds are bigger and more enthusiastic today because the game is faster and more spectacular. When the old-timers got the lead in a game, they'd freeze the ball and the game became a bore. I saw a game that ended with a 3-1 score.

ELEVEN PHOTOS

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)