Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? It's not Michael Jordan

Dec 11, 2018 373

Who is the greatest basketball player of all time? It's not Michael Jordan. That distinction belongs to hall of fame forward, Hank Luisetti, the first person to sore fifty points in a game, the innovator of the running one-handed shot, and the one responsible for paving the road to March Madness and the formation of the NBA. Nobody—not even Jordan can claim that. 

It’s time the world learned the story of basketball’s great pioneer; the man who fought the establishment and changed basketball’s genetic footprint with his unorthodox playing style. James Naismith invented basketball in 1891; Hank Luisetti reinvented it in 1936. Author Mike DeLucia grew up in the Bronx and spent his childhood playing baseball, softball, and all of the street games associated with city living in the ‘60s. He began his career as an actor and entrepreneur but wound up teaching high school English in his forties and authoring books in his fifties.

Besides the story of Hank Luisetti Story—Madness, Mike published Boycott The Yankees: A Call to Action by a Lifelong Yankees Fan, about how the rising costs of Stadium seating is destroying the family-friendly atmosphere of the Great Ballpark in the Bronx, and Settling A Score, a short story that invites readers to the Bronx during the 1960s and into the home of the DeFrancos where two estranged brothers are forced to play on the same little league team. In the process they about life, each other, and the enduring challenges of being brothers. 

Hank Luisetti grew up in the same San Francisco neighborhood as his contemporary Joe DiMaggio—the two actually knew each other and went to the same elementary school. DiMaggio had the luxury of legends like Babe Ruth, and Ty Cobb cementing the foundation of the MLB, but Luisetti played in an era where there was no NBA. It was he who provided a taste of what basketball could become. 

After Luisetti’s heroics were displayed in a game at Madison Square Garden between Stanford and LIU, basketball, as we know it, was born. Hank shocked the basketball world and the New York media machine knew they were witnessing history. People began to emulate the great Luisetti, and basketball became an exciting sport. After barely surviving spiral meningitis while serving during WWII, Luisetti turned down lucrative offers to play in the NBA when it formed in 1949. Hank Luisetti, the man who reinvented basketball and even starred as himself in a major motion picture opposite Betty Grable in 1938, faded into obscurity, but not for long. 

Mike DeLucia can be reached at 914-419-6969, greentbooks@hotmail.com, https://twitter.com/mdeluciabooks, or http://www.facebook.com/greentbooks. Visit www.booksbymikedelucia.com for further information.

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