When 93-year-old James Henderson ran into soon-to-be 93-year-old John Isaacs last Friday in Falls Church, Virginia, the trash talking began instantly.
I just happened to be standing there with my camera, so I captured this photo sequence (Isaacs on right).
Henderson, who was visiting from Tuskegee, Alabama, is the son of basketball pioneer and civil rights activist Edwin B. Henderson and author of Molder of Men, the definitive book about his father, who is credited with being the first to introduce the game to African Americans on a wide scale, organized basis.
Isaacs, who just flew in from New York City, is the former star basketball player who helped lead the New York Rens and Washington Bears to World Professional Basketball Tournament championship titles in 1939 and 1943, respectively.
They both have a thing or two to say.
God bless them.
If you belong to a village, and your village elders are still healthy and happy and vibrant enough to be talking smack into their 90s, then what does that say about you and brightness of your future?
Role models? I think so.
Let’s also take a moment to send our collective well-wishes to Hall of Fame player and coach John Wooden, who is resting comfortably after a fall at home last week.
Wooden is 97 and trumps these young guns.
Isaacs, who played against him frequently when Wooden was with the Indianapolis Kautskys, recalls that Wooden could “flat out play.” Rather than “flash and dash,” he says, Wooden preferred to “take it to the rack.”
Ever respectful of Isaacs and the Rens, Wooden said in 2000, “to this day, I have never seen a team play better team basketball.”
The occasion for this meet up was the 3rd Annual Tinner Hill Heritage Foundation’s Black History Month Celebration, Celebrity Basketball Game, and Awards Ceremony.
I’ll discuss this event in an upcoming blog post.
Meanwhile, we were standing on the front porch of the Henderson House, which is the house that E.B. Henderson built in 1912 and where his grandson, Ed Henderson II, still lives.
The site is honored as a historical landmark by the City of Falls Church.