The offseason’s still not over yet, so the best form of entertainment going is nostalgic footage of your favorite players. If Oscar Robertson is one of yours (if he isn’t, he should be), this is like hoop nerd opium — The Big O messing around and playing H-O-R-S-E with two other greats, Calvin Murphy (remember how he’s 5’9? He still looks tiny next to other NBA players) and Cazzie Russell. It’s from All-Star Weekend in 1986, after they were all retired, and it’s just been released by the Wilt Chamberlain Archive.
Robertson is in the white polo, Murphy (the youngest) is in the sleeveless shirt, and Russell is in the Knicks t-shirt. They all look like they’re having a great time, and if you look at it a certain way, it looks just like some middle-aged, but clearly still athletic, dudes playing a game of H-O-R-S-E, amiably and competitively. The difference is in the sound — swish, swish, swish, over and over again. There are maybe five missed shots in the whole twelve-minute video. They were all great pros, so it shouldn’t be that impressive, but it still is.
The camera lingers on faces, sometimes on shoes, but whoever’s behind it (and bless this person) isn’t trying to document the game as a spectator sport. There’s the same sense of awe and wonder to the filming as you might have if you’d been there, trying to commit every detail of such a seemingly unguarded moment from people you might idolize so much you’d forget they’re human beings.
Jack Marin and Adrian “Odie” Smith are also around, casually knocking down three-point shots (that weren’t even a thing when they were playing in the NBA), but it’s the H-O-R-S-E game that is downright hypnotic. As far as offseason entertainment goes, this is great stuff.
[Via Wilt Chamberlain Archive]