CONFESSIONS OF A GEN-X PREMIUM CABLE JUNKIE: THE FISH THAT SAVED PITTSBURGH (1979)
I’ve never been a sports fan. Never. Not baseball, not football, not basketball. The closest I’ve ever come was a period in my late adolescence through my early twenties when I was a fan of professional wrestling, which really doesn’t count. That said, I’ve always enjoyed sports movies. Go figure.
And while I didn’t watch basketball games during the seventies, I nonetheless knew who Julius Erving aka Dr. J. was. Like Lebron James, Michael Jordan, and Magic Johnson, he was the sort of athlete who transcended basketball to become a pop cultural icon. If you were alive in the late seventies, you just knew who he was.
Even more than Dr. J., though, I was familiar with Meadowlark Lemon, who played for the Harlem Globetrotters. For those who don’t know, much like the professional wrestling matches I would enjoy in later years, Globetrotters games were staged, with the predetermined outcome that the Globetrotters would always win. Also like professional wrestling, the fact that the games were staged in no way meant that the athletes were not highly skilled. But beyond their playing ability, the Globetrotters were first and foremost entertainers. And thanks to their appearances on Saturday morning TV (on Scooby Doo, and later their own show in which they were superheroes of some sort) I was a fan despite having never seen an actual Globetrotter game.