Tricksters in the Madhouse: Lakers Vs. Globetrotters, 1948

Front Cover
U of Nebraska Press, Jan 1, 2004 - Sports & Recreation - 219 pages
In February 1948 the brand-new, all-white Minneapolis Lakers were arguably the greatest basketball team in America, favored to win the World Professional Basketball Tournament later that year. Meanwhile the Harlem Globetrotters, at the center of black basketball, were riding their own incredible 103-game winning streak. Best known to white audiences for their clowning and comedy, the Globetrotters were not even thought to be in the same league with the mighty Lakers. So when these two powerhouses met for the first time?on February 19, 1948, before an audience of eighteen thousand in Chicago Stadium?basketball fans everywhere were in for an eye-opening performance. Tricksters in the Madhouse is the story of this pivotal meeting, a game that would encapsulate the growing racial tensions of the era, particularly the struggle of black Americans to gain legitimacy in the segregated world of sports. Play-by-play, John Christgau recreates the heart-stopping game that would shock white basketball fans raised to view black athletes in separate and unequal terms. Through in-depth interviews and extensive research, Christgau brings this critical match-up to life. By looking beyond the drama in the arena to the broader events of the day, he also puts the game in its sociological context, revealing how, even as it enacted the racial inequities of the time, this crucial game represented an important step toward equality.

What people are saying - Write a review

Tricksters in the Madhouse: Lakers vs. Globetrotters, 1948

User Review  - Not Available - Book Verdict

In 1948 there were two struggling professional basketball leagues in the United States. Both the National Basketball League and the Basketball Association of America were open only to white players ... Read full review

Selected pages


Second Quarter
Third Quarter
Fourth Quarter
Sources and Acknowledgments

Other editions - View all

Common terms and phrases

About the author (2004)

John Christgau is a lecturer at Saint Mary?s College of California and the author of many books, including The Origins of the Jumpshot: Eight Men Who Shook the World of Basketball(Nebraska 1998).

Bibliographic information