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Neither did Murray State publicist Craig Bohnert, who collects the ballots. "I guess they screwed up," said Bohnert.
EQUAL RIGHT TO DUNK
Historically speaking, women's professional basketball leagues have lasted about as long as overcoats in Madonna's videos. But if adaptation counts for anything, the Liberty Basketball Association, the formation of which was announced in New York on Monday, just might have a chance.
The LBA is the brainchild of Jim Drucker, who was commissioner of the Continental Basketball Association from 1978 to '86. Pondering why women's leagues have had such dismal runs, Drucker came to an obvious conclusion about women: They are smaller than men and consequently are at a disadvantage when playing a game whose most fundamental dimension—the 10 feet from floor to rim—was chosen with men in mind. Even at its best, women's basketball is played below the rim, and the dunk, the sport's exclamation point, is virtually nonexistent. "Our goal is to give our players an equal opportunity to excel by giving them equipment in proportion to their size," says Drucker.
Upon consulting Vital and Health Statistics, Drucker found that on average the American male is 5'9" tall, the American female is 5'3�". In other words, women are 92% of the height of men. Hence, Drucker decided, the LBA game would be, in its salient dimensions, roughly 92% the size of the NBA version. Its rim will stand 9'2" from the floor; its ball will be 25, rather than 30, inches in circumference, enabling LBA players to palm it; and, for swifter fast breaks, the LBA court will be 90 feet long, four fewer than the NBA floor.
The LBA will begin play next December, with franchises in Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Philadelphia and a sixth city still to be named. In a nationally televised exhibition game in Detroit on Feb. 18, a team of players from the Detroit area will take on a team of recent college All-Americas. The half-time feature will be—what else?—a slam-dunk contest.
A VERY HIGH FORM OF ART
I'M ENRAGED WITH BASKETBALL," SAYS ARTIST DAVID HAMMONS. "I played it growing up—six, seven hours a day. It wasn't about height then. When it became all about being tall, it took me out of the game. This is my revenge."
The 47-year-old Hammons, who stands 5'8", is referring to the eight pieces with basketball motifs included in Rousing the Rubble, a retrospective of his work that opened on Sunday at P.S. 1—the Institute for Art and Urban Resources in New York City—and will travel to Philadelphia in March and to San Diego in August before returning to New York by way of an as-yet-undetermined city in the Midwest. Hammons has won some of the art world's top prizes—a Guggenheim and a Prix de Rome, among them—but his work is easily understood. Mostly he uses found objects, including inner tubes, scraps of wire and wood, coal, empty wine bottles, human hair and chicken bones. "I prefer to go with something that already has a spirit on it," Hammons has said.
Much of his work is confrontational. Last year, on a street in Washington, D.C., he erected a 14- by 16-foot enamel-on-tin portrait of a blond, blue-eyed Jesse Jackson. Its provocative title, How Ya Like Me Now?, was scrawled across the bottom. Workmen had barely finished putting the piece up when a group of black men, who apparently found the portrait insulting to Jackson, knocked it down with a sledgehammer. "They didn't smash it," says Hammons. "They anointed it."