Of course, the
remote-control referee is only an electronic refinement of Elliot's old device
of hanging an official from a painter's chair over the center of the court, or
suspending one above each backboard. The reasoning behind this particular, even
perilous, experiment was that the referee would thereby be able to spot fouls
his grounded counterparts missed. The scheme was short-lived. For one thing,
the official spent the early part of the game wondering if he was going to stay
up and neglecting the action below. For another, once accustomed to his perch,
he called too many fouls and was a sitting duck for the wrath of the fans.
Towards eliminating this condition, incidentally, Elliot once suggested that
officials wear earplugs so they would not be disturbed by booing and
But Elliot's main
concern is to eliminate the present advantage of the tall man. "I have
always felt," he has said, "that a little man should have an equalizer
in this game. And I always felt the way to get some sensible rules in the book
was to try something to get around the big boys."
One year, when
Elliot's team had to play an opponent with a decided height advantage, he built
up the soles of his athletes' shoes with as much as six inches of rubber until
each player was exactly the same height as the man he was to play against. His
artificially elevated team played very well for one half but then the glue
which secured the platform soles to the shoes began to lose its cohesiveness
and so did the team.
other antigoon inventions—not all of which, of course, have gone beyond his
busy mind—have been moving backboards "so the big man couldn't just stand
under a basket and make it a skeet shoot"; rotating hoops; and two baskets
and backboards, one at 14 feet for those over 6 feet to aim at, the other at
the regulation 10 feet.
in the dynamics of color has also prompted him to paint the basketball bright
orange, and to stripe it and polka-dot it and to tinker with fluorescent
But the most
celebrated achievement of Elliot's career came on the night John Barber scored
188 points. That was several years back, when 6-foot 7-inch Bevo Francis of
tiny Rio Grande College was scoring as many as 116 points a game. Elliot
claimed that Francis was just a good player who was fed the ball whenever a
basket was imminent, that Rio Grande played mediocre opposition and that what
resulted was a decided mockery.
selected Barber, an ordinary 6-foot 6-inch player, and arranged that he be fed
the ball at every scoring opportunity when LA State played feeble Chapman
College. State won 232 to 78 with Barber shooting his head off.
followed it up. "The point was," said Sax, "that feeding Barber the
ball would have gotten us killed by a good team. He would have scored 100
points but they would have scored 200."
hunter from Baltimore brought a curious problem the other day to Graydon
Dunlap, a state game checker in western Maryland. He had his deer all right, he
told Dunlap, but he hadn't shot it, he had captured it. Could he check out a