Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Sphas.

When I was a kid my father and his closest friend, Herb, would often talk about the Sphas--the greatest basketball team of their youth. 

The Sphas--the South Philadelphia Hebrew Association--were an all-Jewish team that dominated professional basketball before the league integrated. They won something like ten championships in 15 years and they were led by players like Harry Litvack,  Max Posnack, Jerry Fleishman, Shiky Gotthofer, Cy Kasselman, Irv Torgoff and Moe Goldman.

My father and Herb grew up on the streets of West Philadelphia and idolized these guys.

I found the sweatshirt commemorating the Sphas online and I bought one for myself, and my cousin Howard, Herb's son. Howard called me today to thank me for the gift and then he offered me a memory that I had forgotten.

"We would play basketball in your driveway and your father would never take his cigar out of his mouth," Howard remembered.

"Your father would sink a jump-shot and just as the ball went through the net, he'd yell 'Alvy Singermann,' just as a radio announcer would."

"My father never took a jump-shot in his life," I corrected. "It had to be a two-handed set shot."

"You're right," Howard said. "He didn't get air. He fouled the air."

No point to this.

Just a memory.

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