“The Tallest Team in the World is the BEST team in the World”- Walter Judge for the Denver Post, March 22, 1936
When I was a kid playing basketball in the 80’s and 90’s it seemed like anything before Dr. J or Magic Johnson was the dark ages. There wasn’t much being taught on the history of the sport, at least none that I was aware of. Maybe part of it was, as a kid, you look up to living legends and much of what was/is written is current and for a reason.
But as I work on a large sculptural project honoring the Globe Refiners, I’m amazed at how their story has been forgotten for the last 80 plus years. In all my growing up years I never learned where the word Dunk came from and how the game evolved. Or why goaltending was created in the rule book? Much of it started with the Globe Refiners. Their story is unique and certainly worthy of a large monument.
The McPherson Globe Refiners were being called the tallest team in the world and the best team in the world 5 months before they even won the first ever Olympic Gold in basketball in 1936! Only 12 days before this was the invention of the word “DUNK”, (it was first published in the New York Times on March 10, 1936 describing this team from Kansas)! They WERE giants back then and I wonder how basketball would have evolved without them. Maybe DUNK would be called something else like dipped or sunk or shimmied…Michael Jordan shimmied his way to the hoop and powerblasted it into the hoop, HA!! That doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?!