Ghost Basketball is Fantastic!

(By Chris, Editor in Chief of and the adult writer of the Gab Four, sponsored by 3 Spoons Yogurt)

Anthony Davis looked like nothing but skin and bones for New Orleans last season. Same for Kevin Garnett and Shawn Bradley their entire careers. No matter how many calories their respective teams' trainers tried wedging down their respective esophagi (I just said "esophagi"), pounds were not easily added to their frames. And the only others who could relate to said individuals would be the trainers who once tried to coax a team of ghosts and skeletons into eating.

Live spook shows were common features in theaters and assembly halls from the 1920s through the 1960s. At least that's what the Internet says. The spook show's host usually opened the program with magic, such as sawing a girl in half or pulling her large intestine through her nose, etc.

I'm not sure any hosts were ever arrested for these atrocities, leading me to deduce that they actually used theatricality and deception. The hosts had also been apparently trained by the League of Shadows.

Magic was followed by the introduction of various threatening monsters, all of whom seemed content merely to scare audiences, as opposed to committing grotesque homicides. (Though, considering homicides refer to a human killing another human, I'm not certain of the noun associated with a spook killing someone. And to think I majored in English for this.)

Ghosts, skeletons, zombies and gorillas were either trained to perform on command, indicating that they were either extremely affable to taking orders or were humans in costumes hoping to receive a paycheck.

I don't feel comfortable declaring shenanigans on such admirable forms of entertainment, so I will assume that there were no costumes involved, and that said manifestations are not as inherently evil as depicted and are perfectly capable of following a script.

To enforce my theory, I recently discovered an old poster from the 1950s, inviting an audience to a completely darkened gym to watch a game of basketball played between two teams comprised of athletes with glowing heads who looked like fugitives from a cemetery.

Ghost Basketball promised thrills, suspense and chills, plus other vivid adjectives that sound infinitely more commercial if imagined being spoken by David Stern during an in-game interview with Heather Cox:

"Played in entire darkness. Fiery balls floating in air. Foul shots made by unseen hands. Local ghosts come to life. A game of basketball with not a light in the hall. Something you can't believe."

The fine print on the poster reveals it was printed in Waterbury, Conn., by agent George T. Dillon.

Assuming the claims on the poster are 100 percent factual, I can deduce that Dillon had powers capable of both raising the dead (since he claimed the players were local ghosts) and training them to play basketball. Before declaring which task to be more difficult, I'm sure many of my former basketball coaches felt that giving life to corpses may have been easier than teaching me how to properly box out.

Seeing as how the climax of most ghost shows involved the unveiling of a monster or a ghost being raised, Ghost Basketball differed in that the only item being raised was the roof, providing that Dillon was as good of a coach as he was a conjurer.

The Ghost Basketball poster claimed it was "the game that has thrilled millions!" A thoroughly exhausting Internet search will reveal other Ghost Basketball games were advertised in other states, thereby exonerating the poster from any misleading tidbits.

Whereas most spook shows usually ended with a full-length horror movie shown in the theater, I can only hope that Ghost Basketball ended with a glow-in-the-dark trophy presentation, followed by the skeletons guzzling ginger ale, as the liquid spilled through their rib cage onto the floor. This seems more rousing than forcing the audience to sit through Hollywood's version of Ghost Basketball, the 1997 movie "The Sixth Man."

But even if Dillon wasn't a capable leader of the undead or the ghosts weren't talented players or the basketball gym was too dark or too hot, voicing audible displeasure was not an option for unhappy patrons. Ghosts would most likely enjoy hearing boos.

Chris is a Waco, Texas, resident, Editor in Chief of, author of the book "Sports Briefs" and the adult writer for the Gab Four. Read more of Chris' solo columns here.

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