Pioneers of the Hardwood: Indiana and the Birth of Professional Basketball

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Indiana University Press, 1998 - Sports & Recreation - 264 pages
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As fire is to prairie or water to fish, so is basketball a part of the natural environment in Indiana. Round ball, or Hoosier Hysteria, is so much a part of the state's heritage that many people believe basketball was invented in Indiana. Naismith's game is a virtual religion in the state.

While everyone knows about the growth of basketball in high schools and in college, the story of Indiana's role in the development of professional basketball has not been told before. It is a lively, passionate story of athletes willing to play for nickels, of raucous fans, local heroes, and love of the game.

Growing out of an award-winning television documentary, Pioneers of the Hardwood tells of the origins of professional basketball in Indiana in the good old barnstorming days. Gould covers the Indianapolis Em-Roes, the dominating Fort Wayne Pistons (later the Detroit Pistons), the Indianapolis Kautskys, the Anderson Packers, the Whiting Ciesars, the Hammond/Calumet Buccaneers, and the Indianapolis Olympians, the core of which was five players from the 1949 NCAA championship team from the University of Kentucky. He sets his story within the context of the times and also discusses competing franchises, including the famous New York Celtics (the original Celtics) and the gifted Harlem Rens, the first all-black professional team, which John Wooden remembers as ""the greatest team I ever saw, period"".

The book is based on extensive research as well as revealing interviews with former players John Wooden, collegiate all-American Ralph Beard, Pat Malaska, Frank Baird, and others. For Hoosier basketball fans, owning a copy of Pioneers of the Hardwood will be almost as much fun as having courtsideseats at a playoff game.


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I think this nreally sums up the Indiana Hoopla, that put Indy on the back board as a Hoopla State,
Even tho I was onbly born at St. Francis Hospitol in Beechgrove, Ind. on 1-23-1939, I was named
after my grand dad and dad, Frank Henry Kautsky(III). I was so glad that this was one of my families that I was Proud to be associated with( as my others also.
I and my Uncle Norman Eugene "RED" Kautsky served as "Mascots" when were were not popping wax coke cups on the playing floor, when Granpa caught us we went on the "time out" bench.
I think Mr. T. Gould did a great book with his coverage , and the teams represented in it.
I personally enjoyed it beyond belief, My older Uncle Donald Lee Kautsky, delivered me a copy of this
wonderful book. Which made it even more special.
Frank Henry Kautsky, III

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About the author (1998)

Todd Gould is the Senior Producer for public television station WFYI in Indianapolis, Indiana. His production of "Pioneers of the Hardwood" served as a 30-minute special for the state-wide public television, "Across Indiana." The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has recognized his work with five Emmy Awards.

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