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The NBA 1-on-1 Tournament of the early 1970's may be worth another shot by the NBA and even the BIG3 League. Each team had two representatives, and the tournament took place over several months. The winner took away $15,000.00 (in $1 bills, no less) and the total prize money amounted to $50,500.00 - decent money back then.


The finals pitted the Celtics Jo Jo White against the Pistons Bob Lanier. The big, slow giant (6'11" Lanier) versus the quick little guy (6'3" White). The finale was anti-climactic and not very exciting. The better show took place in the preceding semi-finals of Jo Jo vs. Jeff Mullins. The difference in the two contests can be seen in the video below:



The White-Mullins contest was fun to watch. The White-Lanier match-up - less so. The rules make for a fast game - first player to 20 (with a minimum 4-point differential) won and there was a 10-second shot clock. The match-ups would need to be carefully constructed, but I can see fan interest if it is done correctly.

I would love to see Kyrie Irving against Steph Curry. How about James Harden versus Kawhi Leonard. Lebron James battling Kevin Durant. That would work. The NBA looks for exciting ideas for All-Star Weekend, and this may fill the bill. With the success of 3-on-3 ball with FIBA, The BIG3 and soon-to-be the Olympics, 1-on-1 may have a place once again.

Follow Tom at @TomLaneHC

Photo via Dick Raphael/NBAE/Getty Images
Video via ginoongkamate

Tom Lane 8/26/2018 11:19:00 AM Edit
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