April 05, 2013

There Is No Leo G. Hershberger: Forty years ago, the National Association of Collegiate Basketball Writers released their All-America team naming the top 15 rookie players in the nation. All 15 received certificates congratulating them on winning the Leo G. Hershberger award, named for a sportswriter, and the achievement was noted by Associated Press and several major newspapers. The whole thing was a hoax concocted by four William & Mary alumni to ensure that their school's guard Mike Arizin was somebody's All-American.

posted by rcade to basketball at 02:50 PM - 4 comments

"It would be impossible to reconstruct 40 years ago, but I find it hard to imagine this could ever happen again at the AP," says Paul Colford, the AP's chief spokesman.

That's a pretty bold statement coming from a news organization that was fooled by an impersonator on a morning radio broadcast.

posted by grum@work at 03:16 PM on April 05

Mike Arizin comes from some solid blood lines. He's the son of the late NBA great Paul Arizin, who starred for the Philadelphia Warriors from the early '50s, retiring rather than move when the team left for San Francisco after the 1961-62 season. He was a 10-time All-Star, won 2 scoring titles, and won an NBA championship. He was known as a classy player and person. He must have been, because I never heard Johnny Most say a bad word against him. (That's a Boston Celtics inside joke. Most, the Celtics' radio voice back in the day, had a habit of disparaging those opponents who acted in what he considered an unsportsmanlike manner. That was about 65% of the league.)

posted by Howard_T at 04:02 PM on April 05

Too bad they didn't continue for a few more years. It would of been cool to see who else came out on the list, and who knows, (?), it may have become a real award. I do believe this could happen again. People don't normally investigate good news.

posted by scuubie at 08:51 AM on April 07

Reminds me a bit of the old Muenster-Dummel high fidelity gag that record producer Norman Granz concocted years ago.

A good number of cork sniffer types totally bought into it.

posted by beaverboard at 10:48 AM on April 07

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