New Book Chronicles
Indian Basketball League
By Dan Kenney,
UNCP Director of Athletics
just had a chance to read a wonderful new book written by two alums.
The book is called "Playing Before an Overflow Crowd" (2002;
Chapel Hill Press, Inc.;201 pages) and is written by Tim Brayboy '64
and Bruce Barton '86. The book is the story of North Carolina Indian
Basketball in Robeson and surrounding counties.
There are great
segments on area schools including Prospect, Magnolia, Pembroke, Union
Chapel, Fairgrove, Hawkeye in Hoke County and Les Maxwell in Cumberland
County. It also profiles the construction of the "Old Gym"
on the UNCP campus, which was built in 1938 and demolished in 1989.
Its location is is now part of the water feature located in front of
the Sampson-Livermore Library.
There is also a
good article by Kelvin Sampson about the influence the league had on
This book is a labor
of love. Bruce and Tim have been researching and writing it for more
than four years. Really, it is a product of lifetime of experiences
and reminiscences. My few words cannot adequately sum up the excitement
and community feelings that surrounded this era of basketball.
Some legends were
born on the hardcourts of this league, including our own Ned Sampson
(father of Oklahoma coach Kelvin), Joe Oxendine, Tommy Swett and many
There are many great
stories, like the one Tommy tells of his Les Maxwell team that practiced
outdoors court on a court of packed clay. Because they could not afford
uniforms at first, Les Maxwell's boys rolled up their blue jeans and
played in t-shirts. As basketball fan, I am in awe.
Like most good sports
stories the story of Indian Basketball has some 'what ifs.'
"You have to
ask the question: 'How would these teams fared against the white and
black teams'" Bruce asks? "We'll never know."
Both Bruce and Tim
are from Pembroke, so there was a special challenge to play fair.
"We did not
want this to be a Pembroke story. We wanted a balanced story,"
Bruce said. "We were able to find pictures of every high school
in the league."
Bruce credits Tim
for making sure every detail is accurate. The book is loaded with great
stories and photos. He also thanks UNCP photographer Bobby Ayers for
his diligent research into the university's photo archives.
"We had a lot
of support from the university in this project," Bruce told me.
"The university is an integral part of this entire story."
in history, Bruce said he was "afraid that the history of this
era would fade away. This was a social phenomenon of the segregation
era, and it took some strange turns."
If you are interested
in purchasing a copy, contact Tim Brayboy at 916 Union St., Cary, N.C.
27511-3756 or Bruce Barton at P.O. Box 362, Pembroke, N.C. 28372-0362.
The cost is $19.95 plus tax and shipping.
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