FanDuel - WFBC

November 11, 2005

A Black Cultural Fiction?: Toronto Raptor Eric Williams is pitching a new line of merchandise from his company, Eric Williams Apparel. The first product line is a series of urbanwear dedicated to "Black League Basketball" that existed from 1920-1940. The problem? Most historians agree the league never existed.

posted by smithers to culture at 10:46 AM - 26 comments

What is sad with this story, is that people will actually buy the merchandise and really believe that it is true. I have no issue with him selling the merchandise, but don't promote it for something that it is not. I agree with the article that it would be disrespecting real teams and what the african-americans went through to achieve the recongnition for their ability to play with in the pros.

posted by grabofsky74 at 11:34 AM on November 11

I still love Eric Williams. Firstly because he always gave a great effort on some awful Celtics teams. Secondly because he looks like a monster from Quake or Doom.

posted by yerfatma at 12:17 PM on November 11

Yao Ming should start a company selling merchandise from the old chinatown league that spanned the 40's and the 50's in Mexico?

posted by Turbo at 12:23 PM on November 11

My big question is: Why the fuck doesn't this guy play more on what is an awful, awful Raptors team? Not sure what to make about the clothes thing. Nothing like a little revisionist thinking to make an agenda more palpable. Naw, that never happens. (And yes, that was a slam at the White House and Christian Conservatives everywhere. Enjoy!)

posted by WeedyMcSmokey at 12:26 PM on November 11

I'm White so I think that I'll start dressing like a Minuteman!!!!

posted by JIM W. at 12:45 PM on November 11

Did he get the crap kicked out of him before he took that picture or is that knot on his forehead permanent?

posted by Turbo at 12:46 PM on November 11

Weedy, I really have no idea why he doesn't play more (like yerfatma, I think he gives great effort)....I always thought that at the very least he could be the best lockdown defender on the team, better than Graham or Peterson, but maybe I overestimate his abilities. But you are as well aware of this as I: he has certainly become one of the lightning rods for p.o.'d Raps fans, though how he can be lumped in with Araujo and Woods boggles me. This TorStar story certainly won't help matters.

posted by smithers at 12:56 PM on November 11

Too weird to comment upon, too weird not to. Just where did the logos come from? It is hard to believe they were invented out of whole cloth(and for what purpose.) It is also hard to believe they were created for teams formed for "a night to play the Rens." Snopes? Care to weigh in?

posted by bugsyduke at 12:59 PM on November 11

It's marketing. Of course it's fake. Think about those Vince Carter ads from a few years ago where they invented a fake ABA team and shot grainy 70's style ads around him. This is one of those, and this post is dangerously close to being a straight ad. (If proof this league existed comes to light, I will retract the above statement completely. But I suspect I won't have to.) Also, the pic on the front page sets a precedent I'm not sure is healthy. But that's beside the point.

posted by chicobangs at 01:54 PM on November 11

chico: I'm sorry. I am certainly not trying to advertise in any way, shape or form. I think I have a (minor) past here at SpoFi of trying to point out culturally-important items from the world of sport. As for the pic on the front page, I just wanted to see if I could do it ... a "hack," so to speak, to dress up the front page a bit. I can understand your concern, and if the Pantheon wants to take it down and remove that precedent, I totally understand.

posted by smithers at 02:28 PM on November 11

I didn't mean to crap on the parade. Really. It's just so obviously fake-looking, and it's cute that Williams is going along with the conceit. I'd like to see the actual logos, but that's only because I've got a thing for logo design.

posted by chicobangs at 03:34 PM on November 11

The league did exist. It wasn't recognized. Imagine that

posted by palange51 at 10:12 PM on November 11

so you and your buddies know the real story? you should contact eric williams. i'm sure right about now he'd be real happy to have some solid proof the league existed..... outside some marketing guys head. i'll bet he'd be suprised also.

posted by yankee0758 at 10:51 PM on November 11

I don't think anybody said that they know the real story??? Although there are some history books that talk of the league. I am sure that Eric Williams doesn't really give a shit, as long as he is making money. Does anybody really give a shit???

posted by palange51 at 11:21 PM on November 11

Before the is-it-authentic-or-did-I-just-make-it-up craze dies down, I'll soon be introducing my exclusive "Potato Famine League" throwback jerseys, for all my Irish homies out there...just keepin' it real 'n' shit.

posted by The_Black_Hand at 12:29 AM on November 12

Mister Hand, if you have logos, you have my attention.

posted by chicobangs at 03:26 AM on November 12

UMM...When is the congressional hearing to determine if this league existed? I think some of the old jersey logos are located east,west,north and south of Baghdad. And now for the big qeustion. Would any of you purchase any of the clothes even if the league did exist? And how about that team that use to kick the shiot out of the washington generals. werent they in the "black league"? Cause i dont remember any crackers on that team.

posted by RZA at 05:25 AM on November 12

THB, can you put old timey names on the back? like whiskey breath O'Malley, or Spuddsy Macnamara? with one of those, and a case of Jameson. i'll be the star of my family reunion

posted by yankee0758 at 06:23 AM on November 12

Perhaps Williams is referring to the Negro basketball teams rather than an organized league. The House of Representatives passed a bill recently about such teams. The article could have mentioned these teams to be fair.

posted by bperk at 08:23 AM on November 12

I am sure that Eric Williams doesn't really give a shit, as long as he is making money. Does anybody really give a shit??? Having seen Eric Williams speak and act over his years with the Celts, I'd say he does give a shit. Providence College, represent. I too will be purchasing clothing that remembers the short but glorious life of the PFL. Hoping it will be offensive and entertaining.

posted by yerfatma at 08:59 AM on November 12

I love that shirt.

posted by smithers at 09:36 AM on November 12

Did he get the crap kicked out of him before he took that picture or is that knot on his forehead permanent? -Turbo I believe that is a permanent feature on Mr. Williams' busted grill.

posted by dusted at 03:24 PM on November 14

I'll soon be introducing my exclusive "Potato Famine League" throwback jerseys, for all my Irish homies out there...just keepin' it real 'n' shit. Is it a basketball league? Baseball league? Hockey league? Why not all three?!

posted by grum@work at 03:58 PM on November 14

The league and those teams never existed. To prove it to yourself and satisfy your curiousity, please look up these history sites: http://www.hoophall.com/education/education_freedom.htm

posted by claude at 11:50 AM on November 18

... or this one:

posted by claude at 11:54 AM on November 18

... or these: http://hometown.aol.com/bradleyrd/apbr.html http://www.blackfives.com

posted by claude at 11:55 AM on November 18

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